Johnson can continue impressive form
High-profile rookie Darren Mattocks will hope for more playing time, while Ryan Johnson looks to continue his impressive form when Jamaicans step into Major League Soccer (MLS) action this weekend.
Mattocks, the second overall pick in MLS SuperDraft, entered the game in the 89th minute for Vancouver Whitecaps on his league debut last Saturday, a 2-0 over Montreal Impact, which started goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, but made his national teammate Shavar Thomas an unused substitute.
Today, the Whitecaps face Chivas USA, coached by Jamaica-born Robin Fraser, who lost their opening game in North America's top league 1-0 to Houston Dynamo last Sunday. Ryan Smith, an England-born midfielder with Jamaican roots, came on as a substitute for Chivas.
Also today, Chicago Fire, featuring Sean Johnson, a US international goalkeeper whose father is Jamaican, tackle Montreal. Published reports indicate injury has forced Ricketts out of Jamaica's team to face Costa Rica next week, but up to press time yesterday there was no confirmation he will miss today's game.
Striker Johnson scored in both legs and assisted on another goal in Toronto FC's (TFC) elimination of MLS champions Los Angeles Galaxy from the CONCACAF Champions League. Today he is expected to lead TFC in their opening MLS match at Seattle Sounders, also on season debut. Striker O'Brian White is on Seattle's roster, but TFC's injured Dicoy Williams is inactive.
Midfielder Khari Stephenson and San José Earthquakes will host Houston and Jamaicans Je-Vaughn Watson and Jermaine Taylor. Stephenson and forward Simon Dawkins, who has family ties to Jamaica, came off the bench for San José in a 1-0 win over New England Revolution last Saturday. Watson played the entire game against Chivas, but Taylor didn't leave the bench. Both Dynamos have been invited to play Costa Rica.
Midfielder/defender Lovel Palmer and Portland Timbers hunt a second win today when they tackle FC Dallas. Palmer played the full match in the Timbers' 2-1 opener over Philadelphia Union on Monday.
Midfielder Dane Richards and the New York Red Bulls will try to bounce back from last Sunday's opening 2-1 loss at Dallas, a game Richards started but was substituted, when they host Real Salt Lake.
Tomorrow, striker Omar Cummings will seek a second win with the Colorado Rapids at Philadelphia. The Rapids, who also have Tyrone Marshall on their roster, beat the Columbus Crew and midfielder/defender Shaun Francis 2-0 on MLS opening day.
- Gordon Williams