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Fabian Johnson

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USMNT - Five to Follow

With the seasons in Europe reaching their climax and MLS in full swing, there are Champions League and Europa League spots to be won, promotion to be earned, and streaks to be continued. Here's five MNT stories to follow this weekend.


  • Fabian Johnson and Monchengladbach can guarantee at least third place in the Bundesliga and an automatic spot in next season’s Champions League with either a win away to Wolfsburg on Saturday or if Leverkusen fails to win against Hoffenheim. [FABIAN FEATURE ON USSOCCER.COM]
  • Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt can secure first place and promotion to the Bundesliga with a win against RB Leipzig on Saturday.
  • Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar are tied on points (59) with Feyenoord but behind on goal differential for third place with one game to go. The third-place finisher gets automatic entry into the Europa League; otherwise they go into a playoff. Alkmaar is away to 15th place Excelsior on Sunday.
  • Ventura Alvarado and Club America go into the second leg of the Liga MX quarterfinal at home down 3-2 to Pachuca. Interestingly, in Mexico the tiebreaker in the series is a little different. If both the aggregate goals and away goals are equal, there is no extra time and penalties. Instead, the team with the most points during the regular season advances.
  • Clint Dempsey goes into the Cascadia Cup match against Vancouver on fire, tied for the league lead with seven goals and adding four assists. He has at least one point in 17 of the last 18 games for Seattle. 

Johnson and Monchengladbach on Bundesliga Hot Streak

U.S. MNT Midfielder Fabian Johnson has played a part in Borussia Monchengladbach’s surge in the Bundesliga, who are now just one win away from securing a place in the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League. With huge friendlies against Netherlands and World Cup champions Germany on the horizon ahead of the vital Gold Cup this summer, Johnson looks to carry that form into the National Team.

After going an unbeaten 5-5-0 in the season’s first 10 games, entering week 13 Borussia Monchengladbach took a sudden skid in the form of three-game losing streak and fell to fifth place on the table. Seven weeks later at the week-20 mark, the team was still in in fifth. Now, entering the last two weeks of the season, ‘Gladbach is riding a 12-match unbeaten streak and holds on to the league’s No. 3 spot. U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Fabian Johnson has played an integral role in helping make Die Foals the hottest team in Germany.

“We've just been trying to do everything we can,” Johnson said of the team’s success in the second half of the season. “I think the first half was also good, just not as good as the second half.  We have been able to win big games like against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen that we missed in the first half of the season.”

The victory against Leverkusen was perhaps the most significant for the Foals, particularly with the clock ticking on the season. Going into the match, Leverkusen was just two points off ‘Gladbach’s third place position in the table, which is an especially valuable position to be in since the Bundesliga top three are ensured automatic bids in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Ultimately the hosts triumphed for their third-straight league win, with Johnson assisting on the game’s final goal of his team’s 3-0 victory and bolstering the team’s Champions League position. Johnson also assisted on ‘Gladbach’s game-winning goal in its 1-0 victory against Wolfsburg on April 26, that win guaranteeing his side at least a place in Champions League qualifying, but they want more.

“Getting to Champions league would mean very much,” Johnson said. “It was our goal to go to the Champions League. We've already achieved being in the qualification stage, but now we want to go to the group stage directly.”

Johnson said he’s never been a part of an experience like the one he is on right now, and said it’s a thrill to have played a part in it. In league games since January in which he has been in the Starting XI for Gladbach, the team has not lost. In that time frame, Johnson has settled into his role on the left side of midfield, scoring a goal and adding three assists.

“Right now I’m playing left mid. When I first when got to ‘Gladbach it was kind of difficult because it had been a while since I had played the position and I wasn't so used to it,” Johnson said. “After the winter break, I had a few good games and now I’m feeling better. I know where to run and where to pass and I’m feeling much more comfortable in the position right now. I like it.”

The team is now just a win away from that automatic group stage placement in Champions League, and they will have a chance to get it on Saturday when it plays Werder Bremen.

“In almost every game in the second half of the season we have had great team performances. Everybody worked for each other and gave everything in those games,” Johnson said. “I think we’re just having a great run right now and we’re trying to keep it going over these last few games. We have to at least win one more, and hopefully we can manage it on Saturday.”

‘Gladbach has had tremendous defensive success during this run, shutting out its opponent in nine of its last 15 Bundesliga games.

“It’s very difficult to score against us. I think we have a great defensive work and then as soon as we get the ball we are very quick in transition and work to score very quickly. We did a lot of good work on these elements during the Winter break.  We just feel comfortable out there and everybody’s positive, not just the players but the club and the whole area here.”

Borussia Park, the home stadium for ‘Gladbach, has a capacity of 54,057, of which 16,145 are standing-room only due to the team’s popularity. Johnson said the Foals fans are some of the world’s best, and that their support propels him and his teammates when they’re on the pitch.

“Our fans are just great,” Johnson said. “When we play road games, it sometimes doesn’t even feel like we’re away. They’re doing a great job and they’re always supporting us.”

Johnson isn't the only player with U.S. MNT ties that has given the Foals faithful something to cheer about. U.S. MNT Special Advisor Berti Vogts was a two-time Bundesliga Player of the Year when he played for Gladbach from 1969-1975. Vogts was a key player for the team in its Golden Decade in the 1970s, when he earned German Player of the Year honors twice (1971, 1979) and led the team to three-straight Bundesliga titles from 1975-77. Former U.S. MNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller captained the squad in the 2006-07 season.

 ‘Gladbach and Johnson look to continue the success and finish the season on a high note. From there it’s only a few short weeks before Johnson gets back on the field in a U.S. uniform when the MNT faces Netherlands on June 5 and World Cup Champion Germany on June 10 in international friendlies.

“I think these are great games and I think everyone’s excited for it,” Johnson said. “We’re going to play against the World Champion. We already played them in Washington D.C. and it was a great game. Now we’re playing them away and I think it’ll be a huge game. Everybody wants to play against the best players in the world so it will be fun.”

The U.S. lost to Germany in the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, last summer 1-0. This time around the game will be played on German soil in Cologne, which happens to be just a few minutes away Johnson’s home in Dusseldorf. His mother, brother and friends will be there to watch him play.

The proximity to home with these friendlies also helps because  Johnson has a lot to prepare for in the next few months with the end of the Bundesliga, the MNT friendlies with Netherlands and Germany, and the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup just a few weeks after that.

Johnson said he’ll closely focus on his training to ready himself for the host of games he’ll encounter, while many of his club teammates will likely be on vacation. Johnson said that the significance of the games and the Gold Cup will fuel him as he works.

“The Gold Cup is very important,” he said. “We want to go to the Confederations Cup, that’s our goal, so we have to win the tournament.”

While Johnson’s club season is wrapping up, he knows his soccer year is far from over, there’s plenty more to come on the horizon with the U.S. MNT, hopefully Johnson says, when his year is over, he’ll have a Gold Cup to hoist and a Champions League group stage matchup to look forward to.

It has been close to four years since Johnson debuted for the U.S. MNT in its match against France in November 2011. He’s come a long way since, having played a big part in the U.S.’s run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where he started all four games. Johnson hopes that this recent success proves to be a continuation of better things to come.


Altidore Double Highlights MNT Contributions to Club Success

Now just over two months out, the U.S. MNT players have their eyes set on making an impact for the USA in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. For now, their work is with their club teams, where last weekend a number of U.S. players made a difference.

Jozy Altidore, F, Toronto FC

Altidore collected his third and fourth goals of the season after notching a double in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Orlando City SC. In the 50th minute, Altidore quickly played a free kick from inside of the center circle to teammate Sebastain Giovinco, who in-turn touched it right back to Altidore. From there Altidore did the rest, zipping past the defense and ripping a shot that just tipped off Orlando City GK Donovan Ricketts’ hands and bounced in off the far post. In the 83rd minute, he got around the defense again. His second score came when he took down a long pass and fooled both a defender and the goalkeeper with a cut in the box that he followed with a left-footed finish.

Watch: Altidore goals

Fabian Johnson, D, Borussia Mönchengladbach

Fabian Johnson played a key part in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 1-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg. Johnson completed 29 of 34 passes one of which set up the game-winning goal. The win was huge for ‘Gladbach as it clinched at least a qualifying spot in the next edition of the UEFA Champions League.

Watch: Match Highlights

Clint Dempsey, F, Seattle Sounders FC

Clint Dempsey led the Seattle Sounders to a victory over rival Portland Timbers by scoring the game-winning goal in the 77th minute of the match. In front of a crowd of 41,541 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Dempsey tapped in a rebound from close range after Andy Rose’s initial shot was saved by the Portland GK Adam Kwarasey. The goal was Dempsey’s second through Kwarasey in the last year. He put one past him in just 30 seconds into the USA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup opener against Ghana last June.

Watch: Dempsey Goal

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Nantes

Alejandro Bedoya headed home the game-tying goal for Nantes in its Ligue 1 road match versus Toulouse. With two minutes left in regulation, Nantes trailed by a goal and was given a corner kick. Bedoya made his move to the back post and buried a header to save a point for Nantes.

Watch: Bedoya goal

Aron Johannsson, F, AZ Alkmaar

Aron Johannsson tallied his sixth goal of the season for AZ, flicking in a cross with the outside of his left foot for a goal in the game’s 35th minute. AZ would go on to win 2-0 over FC Twente. The win was important for AZ as the team continues to work for a Europa League spot. Johannsson’s team now trails the third-place position by three points with two more matches to play this season.

Watch: Johannsson goal

Gallery: From Aarhus to Zurich, USMNT's European Training Camp

Ahead of its next match, the U.S. MNT has traveled and trained across Europe from Aarhus, Denmark to its base camp in Zurich, Switzerland. The USA faces Switzerland on March 31 at Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and UniMás. Fans can also get all the latest on the U.S. MNT on social media. 

              

Highlights: 91st-Minute Strike Beats MNT in Denmark

The U.S. Men's National Team fell 3-2 to Denmark in Aarhus, Denmark.

CAREER STATS     GP/GS            MIN         G              A             Pts              Y                R             W-L-T

2011                         2/1                80           0              0               0               0               0              1-1-0
2012                        8/8               677          0              2               2                1               0              4-2-2  
2013                        8/8               581          0              3               3               0               0              6-2-0  
2014                        10/10            785          1               1               3               0               0              5-4-1
______________________________________________________________________________________
4-Year Totals      28/27          2,123          1               6               8                1               0            16-9-3

A stalwart at both midfield and defense, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann utilized Johnson’s versatility through the USA’s qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Johnson became a part of the U.S. National Team after having a change of association request granted by FIFA. Born to an American serviceman and German mother, in Munich, Johnson initially played for Germany at the youth national team level, earning a medal as Germany captured the 2009 U-21 European Championship.  He earned his first U.S. MNT cap against France in 2011.

  • Started all four games for MNT in the 2014 FIFA World Cup at right back 
  • Recorded a goal against Turkey and an assist against Nigeria, both 2-1 victories during the Send-Off Series ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • Ranked third on the U.S. MNT and set a personal best with three assists in 2013, including two game-winning assists to Jozy Altidore in World Cup qualifiers against Panama on June 11 and Honduras on June 18
  • Joined Borussia Mönchengladbach for the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign
  • Led Hoffenheim with four assists during the 2012-13 Bundesliga campaign
  • Earned his first cap for the U.S. when he entered as a substitute on Nov. 11, 2011, against France
  • Granted approval for a change of association by FIFA in the fall of 2011 
  • Holds both a German and USA passport and has represented Germany at the youth level

2014: Has started in all 10 games he has appeared for the U.S... Started all four games for MNT in the 2014 FIFA World Cup at right back ... Recorded a goal against Turkey and an assist against Nigeria, both 2-1 victories during the Send-Off Series ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup ... Has started seven games for the U.S., including all three Send-Off Series games ... 2013: Posted three assists – third-most on the team and a career-high – while making eight appearances for 581 minutes of action … Had back-to-back, game-winning assists in World Cup qualifying, dishing to Jozy Altidore during a 2-0 victory against Panama on June 11 in Seattle, followed by another assist to Altidore for a 1-0 USA win against Honduras on June 18 in Sandy, Utah … Assisted Altidore’s game-tying goal during an eventual 4-3 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Aug. 14 in Sarajevo ... 2012: Got his first taste of official competition for the USA, playing in three World Cup qualifiers … A calf injury kept him out of the Antigua & Barbuda match, but he returned to start in the 1-1 draw in Guatemala on June 12  … He set up Dempsey’s goal in that game, slipping him a ball just outside the area … Notched his first career point when he clipped a cross to Herculez Gomez for a goal in the 4-1 loss to Brazil … Had a solid performance in the 2-2 draw against ninth-ranked Russia on Nov. 14 in Krasnodar  … 2011: Made two appearances, including one start, for the U.S. … Earned his first cap in the 1-0 loss against France on Nov. 11 as a second-half substitute … Joined training camp for the matches against Costa Rica on Sept. 2 and Belgium on Sept. 6, but had not yet received approval for a change of association … First Appearance: Nov. 11, 2011, vs. France … First Goal: June 1, 2014 against Turkey in an International Friendly

2014: Made a move to Borussia-Mönchengladbach for the 2014-15 Bundseliga campaign... Has appeared in eight games, starting three... Has recorded one goal to help his club to third-place in the Bundersliga table early in the season... 2013: Appeared in 12 games in the 2013 portion of Hoffenheim’s 2013-14 Bundesliga campaign … 2012-13: In 31 appearances, Johnson led Hoffenheim with four assists and added three goals during the 2012-13 Bundesliga season … 2011: Has played 14 games and scored one goal in all competitions in the first half of the season … Set up Johnson delivered a pair of assists to Vedad Ibisevic in Hoffenheim’s 2-0 win at Nürnberg on Dec. 10 … Added an assist in the 1-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach on Oct. 22 and in the 2-0 win against Ausburg on Aug. 20 … Made his debut for Hoffenheim on July 30 in the DFB Deutsch Cup match against Germania Windeck, when he came on as a second-half substitute and scored a goal in the 3-1 win … Joined Hoffenheim on a three-year deal … 2010-11: Started one game out of the six matches he played in for Wolfsburg … 2009-10: Played in 10 league games for Wolfsburg, starting four of those … Tallied his first goal for Wolfsburg in the 2-2 tie against Freiburg on Dec. 5, 2009, when he scored the second equalizer  … Joined VfB Wolfsburg on July 14, 2009 … 2008-09: Increased his career high for games played to 33, all starts, and scored two goals for Munich … Notched Munich’s third goal in the 5-1 rout of St. Pauli on March 1, 2009 … Scored the opening goal in his side’s 3-0 win against FSV Frankfurt … 2007-08: Played a career-high 28 games and scored his first professional goals for Munich … Added a goal in stoppage time to seal the equalizer in the 1-1 draw against Erzgebirge on May 18, 2008 … Scored his first goal on Aug. 26, 2007, in the 3-0 win against Hoffenheim … 2006-07: Made 25 appearances for 1860 Munich in his first full season at the senior level … Promoted to the first team of 1860 Munich in July of 2006 after spending 10 years with the club at the youth level. 

Father is from Michigan … Vacationed in New York as a kid … Speaks fluent English and German.
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