Aron Johannsson will be eligible to play for the United States against Bosnia and Herzegovina after all. Hours after Jurgen Klinsmann said he didn't believe he would be able to play in Wednesday's friendly, FIFA approved Johannsson's one-time switch, clearing him to play for the Americans.
Johannsson is off to a strong start to his season for AZ Alkmaar, converting two penalties and adding an assist in his first two matches. He was brought in last January as a replacement for Jozy Altidore, who the club knew would be sold to a bigger club this summer, which he was. Now Johannsson is manning the center forward role for AZ and thus far, he has done the job well. Not only has he gotten his name on the scoresheet, but AZ picked up a key win over Ajax last weekend that should help them start this season better than last, when they were in the relegation muck for a while.
The 22-year-old will find playing time in Wednesday's friendly hard to come by because he is one of five strikers called in by Klinsmann, but Eddie Johnson could play on the wing. Johannsson himself could also find himself out wide. He has played there before and Klinsmann has shown with Johnson and Herculez Gomez that he likes more traditional forwards on the wings at times.
The only thing that stands between Johannsson and a trip to the World Cup is a good season for AZ and strong play for the U.S. After Altidore, the U.S. is hardly set up top. Johnson has played well, but Gomez has had knee trouble and Terrence Boyd hasn't been trusted enough to play in crucial matches so nobody on the U.S. team is going to block his way onto the team. It's simply a matter of his playing well and, thanks to FIFA's ruling, that can begin on Wednesday.
Johannsson announced his intent to play for the U.S. last month, which represented a change of heart for the Alabama-born striker, who moved to Iceland when he was three and was raised there. He had previously played for the Iceland youth national teams and was ready to accept a call-up to the senior team last year, but an injury forced him to miss it.
Had Johannsson played in the World Cup qualifier he was called up for, he would have been cap-tied to Iceland, but his injury kept his options open. Now he has decided to play for the U.S. and because he has made his one-time switch, he doesn't need to be cap-tired. He is ineligible to switch back to Iceland and can only play for the Americans from hereon out.
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