101413_isi_johannssonaron_usmntjt101113127_(1) John Todd/isiphotos.com
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Aron Johannsson Eager For More After First U.S. Start

The Icelandic-American striker did not score in his first start for the U.S., but he did create scoring opportunities. ASN's Jon Arnold spoke to Johannsson about his performance and future goals.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
October 14, 2013
1:53 PM
AS THE SUPPORTERS belted out the United States national anthem at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., the television cameraman walked by, pausing on each player. Some mouthed the words; others stood stoically, hand over heart.

Among that latter group was Aron Johannsson, a man nicknamed "Iceman" because of his Icelandic heritage. But the forward, born in Alabama, was making his first start for the U.S. It was kind of a big deal to him.

"It was exciting to get my first start in the qualifying game," he said after the match. "It's just amazing, and I hope it's the first of many."

The striker had a few scoring opportunities that he failed to seize, but that doesn't mean he won't be getting his wish for more starts in the future.

"With Aron, it's simply just get out there and get connected. Be part of this team going forward," manager Jurgen Klinsmann said. "He was happy to have Jozy (Altidore) with him up there because they played a couple of months together at Alkmaar. He created himself chances. That's what you want to see from a striker."

The player agreed that partnering with a familiar face helped him acclimate to the team.

"It was pretty nice, being teammates at AZ Alkamaar," Johannsson said. "He's a world-class player and to be able to play with him it's good."

While Altidore may have arrived at the world-class level, Johannsson is still working to get there. Nevertheless, the understudy showed up the star in the first half. While Johannsson missed several chances, he was at least involved in the play. Altidore couldn't get into the match early, losing several aerial battles and having a quiet start. Or, as Klinsmann put it, "Aron ended up getting in these positions and having a couple of chances first half; Jozy didn't."

Johannsson left Kansas City frustrated he couldn't convert any of those chances, adding that he's eager to get his first goal out of the way.

"For strikers, it's about getting into opportunities, and I got into a few opportunities," he said, "but I was unlucky today not to score. Hopefully in my next games I'll get the goal so the first goal is over."

His hopes extend far beyond getting one goal, though.

"I just hope to get some minutes in the next couple games," said the 22-year-old. "It's a long way until Brazil and I have to improve a lot of things. Every minute and every camp, I'll get to know my teammates even better, so I hope it's going the right way."

What did you think of Johannsson's performance against Jamaica? Would you like to see him start against Panama as well? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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