What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
September was a strange month — we only lost the once, but we never looked particularly enthralling on the pitch for any extended period until we hit Chivas USA for four. At times, we looked a little lost; despite any promise we showed, we just couldn't quite connect it all together.
But we dealt with absences well, we scored a few goals, and we started to look like the side we know. There's nothing wrong with getting back there — and though our attack was at times stifled, our defense was quite nearly immaculate. We conceded but twice: a goal against Portland (in that 2-1 win) and the one in that 1-0 loss to Houston. Not that we wanted to concede either goal, clearly, but it is an indication that our defense was doing well.
Following a month in which we were winless in the league, it's hard to much complain about the state of affairs in September. Sure, the sides we beat aren't exactly the best sides out there; admittedly, we need to do well against the "good" sides before we can claim we're back to our best. The point is that we're on the right track.
That's hard to put down to any one player's influence. Everyone plays a part, and when everyone's ticking, the whole thing goes well. We're finally getting close to seeing that again, and that makes picking a player of the month entirely too difficult.
But picking a player? Boy, that's tough. Pick I shall, though.
Boom. No build-up. Whoops.
Mr. Johnson, the fiery midfielder who never cuts and runs, never ducks from a battle, never lets up — he is my winner. No, no — our winner. Or something like that.
Let's put it this way: Will Johnson scored a winner, made tackles as vital as they come, and mopped up. And the key to it all? He's getting further forward. After Jason Kreis made a comment about it publicly, it had to be relatively certain that he'd made the same comment to the player. It came across. Will has been bombing forward, tracking back, and doing exactly what it is he does.
It's easy to point to Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola as the core pieces, but without a shuttling midfielder, the side would fall apart — just as it would without the roles filled by anyone else. He's a vital cog.
Importantly, Will Johnson is playing well. Going in to the final stretch before the playoffs, that's absolutely, positively essential. I hope he stays for a long, long time to come.