Sean Johnson has been the man between the posts for the Chicago Fire since 2010.
The goalkeeper impressed as a rookie that year in 13 starts and has started a majority of the Fire's matches each year since, even earning five caps with the U.S. Men's National Team.
When he was forced to watch the Fire's first nine matches of this season on the bench, it was something different for the Georgia native. After the long wait, Johnson was able to win the job back for the past two matches.
He didn't even make a save in the 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls. The only shot on goal by the Red Bulls was an unsavable shot by Mike Grella.
His shutout in Saturday's 1-0 win against Houston forced him to make his first saves of the season. Johnson finished with three saves, including tipping a Mauro Manotas shot over the bar late in the second half to preserve the lead.
“The result tonight was massive," Johnson said. "It comes in a tough time for us. We’ve been through a lot and we’ve stuck together through the entire thing."
Each time Johnson made a save or came off his line to claim a loose ball, he earned an extra cheer from the crowd. The fans showed support for the club's longest tenured player.
Coach Veljko Paunovic has frequently been asked questions about why Matt Lampson was given the nod ahead of Johnson and would always say that all positions remained open for competition. When asked Saturday if Johnson has earned the starting job for the forseeable future, Paunovic again left it open.
“He is doing very good," Paunovic said of Johnson. "He is helping the team and, like we did so far, everyone who is doing that and we believe can help the team to win and to perform, we will do that and play.”
Johnson said the transition to playing in front of a back line that he had never played with in a game before Wednesday was easy.
"The guys are really easy to get on with," Johnson said. "It’s really easy to transition. They make it easy. They talk back and give me good feedback in the game. It’s great. We’re on the same page from the time we step on the field in New York. With Rodrigo (Ramos) we tried to come up with a translation to make sure we’re on the same page and it shows. Everybody is on the same page and we waste no time getting on the pitch and gelling together.”