BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson is back, and he's brought a newly-minted championship pedigree with him.
That means goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, who made multiple game-saving stops on Saturday against Houston, will step aside when the Fire head to Philadelphia this weekend. And the Italian knows that Johnson's return after achieving Gold Cup glory with the U.S. could do wonders for the Fire down the stretch.
“Sean played very good all the season until now,” Tornaghi said. “I think it's positive also that the U.S. National Team won the cup so he can bring a winning mentality. He stayed one month away, and I know when you play this kind of competition, it's very important, when you come back, you can have that winning mentality. So he can help us to our stretch that we have to play.”
LISTEN: Johnson talks where he's placed his Gold Cup winner's medal
But even as Johnson returns to take the reins from Tornaghi, the Fire know that they have a solid starting goalkeeper waiting in the wings. Despite a shaky first few starts, the Italian inspired confidence by playing his best game of the season against Houston, when he stopped breakaway attempts by Giles Barnes and Jason Johnson in the last 15 minutes to preserve a 1-1 draw.
“If it wasn't for him in the last 10 minutes, it wouldn't have been the same score in Houston,” defender Gonzalo Segares said. “Little by little, you could see how he's building up his confidence. His performance got better every game. His last game was excellent. I happy for him because he works hard here every day.”
So Tornaghi will return to the bench. But because of his standout performance, he'll return to the bench that, when called upon, he has the ability to make keep Chicago in games.
“It was a good game for me, I had to make the save at the end,” Tornaghi told MLSsoccer.com. “For a keeper it's not easy coming back after awhile that you don't play. It took a couple of games, but sometimes it's not easy. Some situations it's impossible to train [for]. This little stuff, you can get better just playing.”