Despite back-to-back defeats, Sean Johnson and team remain confident heading to Toronto

Johnson, team still see playoff opportunity after tough week of travel

Sean Johnson

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USA Today Sports Images

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Fire’s back-to-back cup and league disappointments the past week have laid a certain gauntlet down for the team with 11 games left to play.

Despite conceding a combined seven goals in the past two matches, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson has actually been one of the bright spots for the team. While the fifth year Fire netminder made just one stop in the team’s 1-0 loss at the weekend in Montreal, it is a candidate for MLS Save of the Week.

And although the side fell 6-0 last Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals at Seattle, Johnson got caught with a lot of Seattle numbers coming at him as the team pushed to get back into the cup tie. He made six saves in the defeat, with a couple being of the back-to-back point-blank variety.

While conceding seven goals in two matches is less than idea, Johnson says it hasn’t affected his confidence.

“Anytime you concede goals it frustrates you, it makes you upset,” Johnson told Chicago-Fire.com this week.  “If it didn’t do that, you’re in the wrong spot as a goalkeeper. For me, we’re pushing to get back into the game, at that point it doesn’t matter if we lose 1-0, 6-0, 10-0 as long as the effort to try and get back in is there.”

The team hoped to bounce back quickly in Saturday’s game but let the match slip away as Marco Di Vaio beat Johnson on an 85th minute blinder inside the right post.

While he couldn’t be blamed for either loss, Johnson is very much of the “win and die as a team” belief.

“It’s always tough to lose two in a row but it’s about how you can rebound from a tough situation. It’s really cliché but it’s how you go through and deal with adversity, I really believe in that.”

“I think we have the guys that have the mental strength, the willingness to get back out there and do the things necessary to get over the hump. Everybody has to believe, from myself to the coaching staff and the people you don’t really see have their hands on things. Everyone has to believe, if we all do, I think we’ll get there at the end of the season.”

With 11 games left, the Fire still find themselves just three points out of a the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The team should get another boost as new signing Robert Earnshaw is set to fly to Chicago on Wednesday (see tweet below) and could get his first runout for the club on Saturday at Toronto FC. The club still also remains in the hunt for U.S. international midfielder Jermaine Jones.

“We’re right there where we can really make a push. It’s going to be up to us to dig deep, search and find it within ourselves to search and get the results.”