Eddie Johnson, scorer extraordinaire for the U.S. national team, has a new strike partner at FC Dallas, another pure goalscorer, Carlos Ruiz. Johnson spoke to 365’s Andrea Canales after they both notched goals against Chivas USA. Ruiz scored a penalty, while Johnson nodded home a Ronnie O’Brien pass, and O’Brien hit an outside screamer to bring the scoreline to 3 -1.
Q: Eddie, you and Carlos both get on the board – how does it feel?
It’s good. It’s funny because we had a press conference this week in Dallas with Chivas. I guess they were kind of giving Carlos a go. “The Fish is going to go down!” or whatever. And he told them, he said. “Eddie and I are going to score this weekend.” We proved that.
Q: So Carlos called it?
Yeah, he called it, he called it. It was a good night. It’s a new system that we’re playing and it’s working. It’s a different look. I’m not playing up top. I’m more of a right forward and Ronnie and I, we interchange with each other and it’s hard for defenders to mark us when we’re playing on both sides of the ball upfield.
We were gone all preseason, Carlos and I, and we’re new to the system, and slowly but surely, once we get enough games in, it’s going to be ugly for the rest of the teams because this guy [indicates Ruiz, who is passing by] a good player. And whenever Ronnie O’Brien gets the ball, he does something special with it. That’s how I score all my goals. Get the ball to Ronnie – let Ronnie do something special with it – I’ll get on the end of it.
It’s good. The team, we’ve been working hard these last three weeks. The coaches have been working with us. They know when to do a lot and not to do a lot in terms of recovering after games like this. Everything’s working right now.
Q: Colin [Clarke, FC Dallas coach] said that he could really see you and Ruiz starting to click this last game. Did you feel the same way?
For sure. Every game gets better and better - I don’t know if you watched the first two games. It’s a new system. The team’s been working on it and they’re familiar with it. It’s something we have to get used to. But we did a lot of shadow work this week and we knew what our roles were in the game and we just put the work that we put in this week out on the field.
Q: Does the new system and players help keep MLS exciting for you, after being with the U.S. national team?
For sure. Being with the national team for so long, I miss players that I’m around throughout the year. It was good to finally get back with the team. Just being in Dallas and not traveling from city to city.
But I’m not going to take anything from national team, because playing week in and week out with the best players is awesome. I try to take what I learned there and bring it back here. It’s all working right now.
Q: Does that progress help you keep your focus – after you’ve gotten all these offers from abroad?
Sure. I’m not looking overseas or anything. I’m loyal to MLS and I’m getting better. MLS has gotten me where I’m at right now. And why leave when I’m getting better? I could see if things weren’t working out here, or it was too easy for me, but it’s tough to play in this league. It’s not an easy league. With the two new teams and hopefully more in the future, it’s going to be a big league. It’s going to be a tough league. I’m happy in America.
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