081413_johannssonaron_130814fek_bih_usa_02_(1) Fedja Krvavac
Direct from Sarajevo

Aron Johannsson Talks to ASN About His U.S. Debut

Just minutes after the United States defeated Bosnia, 4-3, in Sarajevo, ASN correspondent caught up with the Icelandic-American and talked about jitters, partnerships, and upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
BY Graham Ruthven Posted
August 14, 2013
6:57 PM
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina—After making his debut in Wednesday's 4-3 win over Bosnia, Aron Johannsson feels he “belongs” in the U.S. men’s national team, adding that he hopes a partnership with Jozy Altidore will boost his case for next month’s World Cup qualification roster.

Having been cleared to play for the U.S. by FIFA on Tuesday evening after making the one-time association change from Iceland, Johannsson was introduced as a second-half substitute, showing glimpses of his promise almost immediately. He made good, darting runs and showed good pace and excellent technique.

Plus, it must be said, he looks hungry for goals. He said as much.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Johannsson told ASN after the game in Sarajevo. “I was anxious the whole game, just waiting for my opportunity and when it finally came I think I did OK.

“Maybe I should have scored, and that’ll annoy me, but next time I’ll do better. I want to score lots of goals for this team and become an important player.”

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann changed from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-4-2 system at halftime, with the Americans trailing 2-0. The switch worked with Eddie Johnson partnering Altidore up front until being replaced by Johannsson in the 63rd minute.

“I think I’ve formed a good relationship with Jozy,” Johannsson explained. “I think we play well together and our styles work well together. I think we’ve been seeing that in training." “He’s an easy player to play alongside and hopefully we can form a partnership up front."

Johannsson has started well for new club side AZ Alkmaar, scoring twice in just two competitive appearances, but the 22-year-old is already casting his mind ahead to the crucial World cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

“For me the focus turns to the qualifiers now,” he continued. “I really want to be involved in those games and help the team get the two or three wins they need to make the World Cup."

“I feel I’m playing well and have a good chance of making the roster for those games, but it’s up to the coach. This is a very good team and I need to play well in every game to have a chance of playing. Those games are definitely in my mind and I hope the coach knows how much I want to play."

In an interview, Icelandic FA President Geir Thorsteinsson questioned Johannsson’s motives in choosing to play for the USA over Iceland, suggesting his decision might have been influenced by the increase in profile.

But Johannsson was quick to dispel those questions, adding: “Some people say I should play for Iceland but money doesn’t come into it. The World Cup was a factor in my decision, but it’s also a personal one."

What did you think of Johannsson's debut for the U.S.? Would you like to see him in the September World Cup qualifiers? Tell us below.

Post a comment