Success in the Azteca
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Sean Johnson may not have played in the United States' Sunday's 0-0 tie against Mexico on Friday, but he breathed in the thin air at Azteca Stadium, and when he looked up, he saw the cavernous stadium, filled with 95,000 or so fans.
And for the second time in two trips to the stadium with the senior national team, Johnson saw the United States nab a result. While Johnson said the mystique of Azteca will always be there, he's part of a young group of Americans who know nothing but success in Mexico City.
“Everybody knows that it's doable,” Johnson told MLSsoccer.com. “We made that apparent last year when we went down and beat Mexico. Now going down there and getting a result, 0-0, we can hold our own.”
Johnson's status as the national team's third goalkeeper has been tenuous, especially after Jurgen Klinsmann named Nick Rimando the backup while Tim Howard is away with an injury.
But even if he's not on the World Cup team next year, Johnson is part of a core of young Americans who will play important qualifiers in Azteca Stadium in the coming World Cup qualifiers. The experience of having success there is invaluable.
“To be a part of the team that beat Mexico in Mexico and also got a result and drew a game down there is huge,” Johnson said. “It's huge for our country in a position in qualifying during a time when every game matters. To get points on the road in a place where it's historically almost impossible to get points, it's great for us.”