Back in training

A welcome sight on the Toyota Park training pitch this week has been that of Sean Johnson’s 6-3 frame manning one of the goal boxes.

The 21-year-old rookie goalkeeper returned to full training Tuesday after spending nearly two weeks recuperating from a shot taken to the face in training on October 5. Johnson was diagnosed with Hyphema in his right eye, which occurs when blood seeps into the eye, blocking vision.

“I’ve never had anything so sever,” said Johnson following Wednesday’s training session. “I think the scariest part about the whole thing is you kind of take a different perspective on things and put yourself in other people’s positions. I was literally blind for about 20 minutes. I couldn’t see anything out of my eye when it was open. I’m thankful that I still have my vision and nothing was too serious. It was probably one of the scariest injuries I’ve ever had aside from breaking my leg – when you do that you know you’re going to recover, but as a goalkeeper your vision is so important.”

The first-year keeper was thrown into the starting lineup on August 1, playing admirably as the Fire downed the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Johnson was happy to be back at training this week, preparing for a return to the site of his first MLS start when the Fire close out the 2010 season against Chivas USA Saturday.

“It’s good to go back. It’s another away game and those are always tougher. We had a stretch where we had a lot of home games and now it’s back on the road. I started there – it’s a great stadium and has a great atmosphere. Being out for a week, it’s going to be important for me to come out and have a solid performance – not do too much but just get the job done.”

And while the playoffs have been out of the club’s sights for a couple weeks, Johnson still views the match against Chivas a vital one.

“You want to call this game in LA the most important game of our season because it’s all about momentum -- how we leave off and how the spirits are at the end of the season. We owe it to the fans and the organization to come out and do a job on Saturday night.”

Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire. Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.