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Balanced and settled in Seattle? Seems so for Eddie Johnson

Eddie Johnson, Dan Kennedy

Seattle Sounders FC’s Eddie Johnson, center right, crashes in as Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, center left, goes for the ball in the first half of a U.S. Open Cup semifinal soccer match, Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Tukwila, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


You know the rap on Seattle’s Eddie Johnson, right?

That he’s lost it. Or perhaps that he never had it, that his scoring spike with the national team was time-and-place providence. (Pay no attention to that solid record of scoring in his first MLS go-round.)

Or that he’s not a “team guy.”

Tell that to the Seattle Sounders fans today. You are likely to get an official, unabridged rave green earful. And maybe some extra salt in your salmon from Pike Place Market.

Johnson scored again last night as Seattle dispatched Chivas USA to reach its fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup final. Richard Farley has the game goods here.

But let’s talk briefly about Johnson, who just hit his ninth goal for the club across two competitions this year (league and Open Cup matches). Sounds like he’s focused on two things: playing in a final and doing his job, which means scoring goals:

This [will be] my first final. Well, my second final. I played in the Greece Cup final. But this is one of the biggest games in my career. I’ve won a Gold Cup with the US national team but I haven’t really won anything. And the final is going to mean a lot to me, going back and playing against my old team… The team has won it three years in a row, and I sure don’t want to be the reason the team doesn’t win four in a row. So I’m going to go out there and play my butt off.”

Sounds to me like Johnson is thinking the right way. I’ve said and written before, Johnson is a man who just needs to be shown the right direction. He’s capable of making good choices and bad ones; put the right leaders around him and “EJ” fine.

(MORE: Watch the entire post-game interview here)

I’ve also said that desire or attitude was never the problem that some believe. Again, it’s about getting the right people in his ear. And it’s about his ability to gain some balance and comfort in his surroundings.

As the goals keep coming, it will be harder and harder for people to remember this, but Johnson became a real reclamation project. He was darn close to tumbling completely out of professional soccer last winter. Seattle really found something here – and now they’ll take it into next month’s Open Cup final, not to mention the MLS season’s second half.