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October 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Eddie Johnson returns to practice after one-day absence; issue seems resolved

Sounders FC’s Eddie Johnson was back at practice Friday. The forward was kept out of Wednesday’s training session by coach Sigi Schmid for undisclosed reasons.

Schmid described the issue as a one-day thing: “We talked, it’s resolved and we move forward. It’s like families. Families, sometimes you disagree and then you move on.”

So not an issue going forward?

“Yeah, we’ve talked. We’re OK. Not a problem,” Schmid said, noting that Johnson had respected the decision earlier in the week.

It looks like Johnson is in line to return to the field in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Galaxy. The team’s leading scorer was able to practice Friday without any limitation from a recent groin injury, and Schmid said Johnson’s role will be determined after Saturday’s practice.

Reporters also spoke with Johnson about this week, and here is a transcript:

*     *     *

(What do you want the fans to know about what happened this week in regard to your absence Wednesday?) “Obviously, I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been injured, got injured with the national team, and I know how important it is for our team right now. The last four games, even before I went to the national team, our run of play hasn’t been good of late. We haven’t been getting the results that we’ve wanted. Me being a guy that’s an important part of this team, being injured, I’ve been really frustrated. I’ve been frustrated with the time they sent me out to be out for and I felt like after that training session, everything that’s been going on, it’s more me frustrated with myself and how important I am within the team and how much I want to be out there to help my teammates and put ourselves in a good position for the playoffs.”

(Was it then a good thing for you missing practice for a day?) “It was just something where the best thing for me was to take the day off. Being frustrated, you don’t want to get out on the field. When you’re out there pushing more, it sets yourself back. Another day’s rest and a harder training session today was the plan, and I felt good today and I’m looking forward to the game on Sunday.”

(Is there any frustration coming back from the national team sometimes and not getting the same service?) “At the end of the day, I’m a competitor. The coach knows that. I train how I play. This is a very good team, and I hold my standards high and I hold my teammates’ standard high, as well. A lot of things get misperceived when they see it on the field. It’s because we have a special team, and a lot of us might not play together, so you want to enjoy what you have. Leaving and going to the national team with better players, I think it’s to us to come back and make our teammates better. I’m one of those guys who is more of a vocal leader in how I play. When I’m on, it’s contagious. When Clint Dempsey is on his game, it’s contagious within the team. When Brad Evans is on his game, it’s contagious in the team. With Mauro and veteran guys that the younger guys look up to, when we’re on our game, it’s contagious in the team. I try to hold my standards high and as well as my teammates’ standard high.”

(Do you feel supported by the team amid the frustrations?) “Oh, yeah. Me being out and guys texting me and talking to me and telling me how much they need me back to help the team. At the end of the day, it’s not what everyone else is talking about as long as we know what we’ve going on within this team. We’ve set our goals this year, and you can ask every guy on this team, they’re confident in me 100 percent as well as I am with them. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day — us. Even when we’ve had a difficult time throughout this year, being true to ourselves and what we believe in, that’s what got us into the playoffs. They can say results went our way, but it’s about making the playoffs. It’s not about winning every game. … We’re in the playoffs and we still have everything in our control.”


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