Sean Johnson
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson won't let historic 100th appearance blur focus Sunday at New York

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- When Sean Johnson steps on the field Sunday at Red Bull Arena it will not only mark the completion of his fourth season as a professional but also his 100th MLS appearance at the tender age of 24.

“I’m definitely proud of that milestone given the career I’ve had so far,” Johnson told Tuesday. “As a goalkeeper at 24 years old, I think 100 games in this league is special.”

He’s right. Only Johnson’s national teammate and mentor Nick Rimando will have gotten there faster and even then it’s by a matter of days.

The veteran MLS ‘keeper achieved 100 MLS appearances in D.C. United’s 2003 regular season finale at 24 years, 100 days. Johnson will hit the milestone Sunday at 24 years, 149 days.

Selected in the fourth round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Johnson won the Fire’s starting goalkeeper job midway through 2010 and was one of the few bright spots on the team that season, putting in a number of memorable performances to close out the campaign.

But for a small six-game run in 2011, Johnson has only ever relinquished the starting job due to injury or U.S. Men’s National Team call-ups. If not for those, he likely would have beaten out Rimando.

“Sean’s a good, young goalkeeper with a lot of potential,” Klopas said of Johnson about to hit the century mark. “He’s improved every year and it’s amazing how time flies but he’s played so many games already and he’s still got such a bright career in front of him.”
Johnson’s been part of the U.S. team for much of head coach Juergen Klinsmann’s tenure and is still eyeing a place on the side’s 2014 FIFA World Cup roster. Ironically, if he makes it to Brazil, it will likely be Rimando that he beats out.

Still, Johnson’s focus heading into Sunday isn’t on his milestone or his plans for next summer but rather getting a result vs. Red Bull that would see the Fire into the postseason after a dismal 2-7-1 start to the season.

“I just take it in stride because we have a job to do in New York,” he said. “The achievement is good but at the end of the day I need to focus on the game itself.”

“You just want to put yourself in the playoffs. You see teams that start off fast and they taper off – I think it’s about hitting the right stride at the right time. The team has done a fantastic job this season of weathering the tough moments and being able to overcome adversity. We’ve put ourselves into a good position and have our destiny in our hands going into the last game of the season, that’s a positive thing.”