Late, late last night, in a mythical desert somewhere west of the Mississippi River, the United States played Mexico in a game of soccer. It ended all even at two goals apiece, but you can read about that elsewhere. Like at Stars & Stripes FC. And you can watch the highlights below. After you get back from reading other sites (it's okay, I don't mind) and watching the video, though, we're going to talk about Eddie Johnson.
Now, you probably noticed that EJ made what looked like a textbook run off the back shoulder of his defender, received a throughball and slotted it home calmly for the go-ahead goal. But you'd be mistaken, because what matters is what the assistant referee sees, and he saw Eddie make a run into an offside position and so whistled the play dead. No goal. It looks pretty clear on replay that it was the wrong decision.
So, being the self-absorbed club soccer fan that I am, I can't help but ask, "What's this mean for D.C. United?" Instead of a conquering hero, scoring the game-winning goal against his country's biggest, most hated rival, Johnson is returning to RFK Stadium having been left out of the starting lineup and with precious little to show for his midweek trip to Arizona. Like nearly all forwards, Johnson is a creature of confidence. He was just starting to find some in last weekend's match against the Chicago Fire (another 2-2 draw in which his team gave up the lead), and this would have built it to the highest level EJ has had this year.
Does the fact that EJ's goal never technically happened do anything to dampen that confidence? Or is he resilient enough to know that he was done dirty by the flagman? I'm obviously hoping for the latter, and I think it will be closer to that than the former - especially if United's midfield can find him early against the New England Revolution this Saturday.
The game was on well after my old man bedtime, so all I've seen is the highlights, and I can't speak to the rest of his performance. Take to the comments to share your thoughts on EJ's game against Mexico and how you think he'll respond for United.