Sean Johnson is going to Qatar.
Moments ago, the New York City FC captain was named to the final 26-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at a live event held at Brooklyn Steel. Johnson will be joining Matt Turner of Arsenal and Ethan Horvath of Luton Town as one of the team’s three goalkeepers.
Zack Steffan, long considered the top goalkeeper on the United States Men’s National Team, was a surprise omission. The 27-year-old Steffan signed with Manchester City in 2019, but after some poor performances he was loaned to Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship, and he has yet to distinguish himself this season.
Johnson’s selection isn’t unexpected. The veteran has emerged as head coach Gregg Berhalter’s first choice as the backup to Turner. Johnson put in a strong performance in a friendly against Uruguay over the summer, when his clutch saves preserved a clean sheet — and earned him Man of the Match honors.
As the kids put it, that’s Sean Johnson.
It helps that the 33-year-old also brings experience and leadership to a USMNT that will be the youngest squad at the 2022 World Cup. Johnson is more than just a shot-stopper, he’s a vibes guy.
Johnson is coming off a strong year with NYCFC, logging 15 clean sheets in MLS league play. Johnson has made 10 appearances for the USMNT, and has logged five clean sheets, but this will be his first World Cup.
Johnson will be the third NYCFC player in club history selected to a World Cup squad. In 2018, defender Ronald Matarrita and forward Rodney Wallace were both named to the Costa Rica national team, although an injury in training forced Matarrita to withdraw from the squad. Wallace made the trip to Russia, and appeared as a late substitute in Costa Rica’s stoppage-time draw with Switzerland.
Former NYCFC youth signings Joe Scally (defender, Borussia Mönchengladbach), and Gil Reyna (midfielder, Borussa Dortmund) were also named to the squad.
Will Johnson get playing time? It’s hard to say. Turner is developing into a world-class goalkeeper at Arsenal, and Berhalter is likely to choose him for his Starting XI. But the MLS Cup Final between LAFC and Philadelphia Union demonstrated that a game can ride on the ability of a backup keeper to step up at a moment’s notice and put in a heroic performance.
Berhalter must like knowing that Johnson will be waiting to go in goal.
Ethan Horvath, Luton Town
Sean Johnson, New York City FC
Matt Turner, Arsenal
Cameron Carter-Vickers, Celtic
Sergiño Dest, AC Milan
Aaron Long, New Jersey Red Bulls
Shaq Moore, Nashville SC
Tim Ream, Fulham
Antonee Robinson, Fulham
Joe Scally, Borussia Mönchengladbach
DeAndre Yedlin, Inter Miami CF
Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC
Brenden Aaronson, Leeds United
Kellyn Acosta, LAFC
Tyler Adams, Leeds United
Luca de la Torre, Celta Vigo
Weston McKennie, Juventus
Yunus Musah, Valencia
Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders FC
Jesús Ferreira, FC Dallas
Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
Christian Pulisic, Chelsea
Gio Reyna, Borussia Dortmund
Josh Sargent, Norwich City
Tim Weah, Lille
Haji Wright, Antalyaspor