BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Young goalkeepers are bound to make mistakes, but coaches and teammates have been impressed with Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s improved ability to bounce back from those errors.
He showed that ability during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Columbus after he made a blatant error to put the Fire in a 1-0 hole.
When Johnson received a pass from defender Austin Berry in the 15th minute, he tried to one-touch a pass right back to Berry. But he instead put it right in the path of Jairo Arrieta, who intercepted it, dribbled past Johnson and beat a sliding Arne Friedrich to put the Crew in front.
But the Fire bounced back by taking a 2-1 lead, and so did Johnson. The 23-year-old parried away a point-blank shot from Josh Williams in the 79th minute to preserve the win.
“In games you’re going to make mistakes,” head coach Frank Klopas said after the match, “and now it’s like the next play, how do you react from them? I thought he was positive. He made some big saves in the end.”
Johnson, for his part, said he did his best to shake off the mistake to put his team in position to win.
“You get upset with yourself when you give a pass out of the back, especially when it results in a goal,” he said. “You want to be safe with your decisions, but going forward you just have to do your best to keep your team in the game and that’s what I was called upon to do at the time.”
Despite their run of winning seven out of their last eight games, the Fire haven’t shut out their opponent in their last 10 games.
In nine of those 10 games, though, Chicago have only given up one goal. With an offense that has scored multiple goals in eight straight games, that’s been enough.
“For me, the important thing is that we don’t give up goals,” said defender Arne Friedrich. “It was a little unlucky how we gave up the goal, but the most important thing is the character of the team. There were games this season that we went down a goal and we came back fantastic – same as today – and this is what counts.”
Pardo out again
Pável Pardo missed his second straight game on Saturday with a hamstring injury.
The defensive midfielder was optimistic early last week about his return for Saturday’s game, but Klopas decided to be cautious.
“We tried to push him yesterday and he came off and didn’t feel good,” Klopas said after the win. “So we’ve got to see day to day.”