Sean Johnson has joined the USMNT camp for the June fixtures, replacing the leaving Zack Steffen who was forced to withdraw due to family reasons. Johnson joins Matt Turner (New England Revolution) and Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest) as goalkeepers for the four-match camp: friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay, followed by Nations League Group Stage matches vs. Grenada and El Salvador.
Steffen is widely presumed to be coach Gregg Berhalter’s first choice goalkeeper and his absence will give Turner, who earlier this year secured a summer move to Arsenal in the English Premier League, a chance to solidify a claim to the starting role.
Johnson, age 32, has long been viewed as a strong goalkeeper within MLS. Last season, he was instrumental in New York City FC’s MLS Cup triumph. In particular, he propelled the team through a playoff round vs. the Shield-winning Revolution with a save during the penalty shoot out.
Johnson is something of a reliable hand for the USMNT. While he’s only made 9 appearances, he’s long been looked to as a back-up goalkeeper, featuring as such with the squads of the 2017 and 2019 Gold Cup. His call up comes ahead of other American goalkeepers in MLS, including Gaga Slonina of the Chicago Fire and Stefan Frei of the Seattle Sounders.
Slonina recently publicly dedicated himself to the USMNT despite significant interest from Poland. However, while the 18-year-old was part of a World Cup qualifying camp earlier this year, his form with the Fire has slipped in recent weeks. Frei, in contrast, remains in good form. But the naturalized Swiss American is already 36 and has never made a USMNT appearance.
While Steffen will be missed, the hands of all three goalkeepers, Turner, Horvath, and now Johnson, remain quite steady. Goalkeeper should not be a problem in the coming matches.