UPDATE: Sigi said Martinez and Johnson, if he's called up, could be available for the Oct. 17 game.
It sure looks like Eddie Johnson will be making his return to the United States national team for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers on Oct. 12 and 16. Although no official announcement is expected until Monday when the entire roster is released, Johnson sent out a series of Tweets that seemed to indicate he had made the cut.
Thank you to the Seattle Sounders and my teammates family and friends for believing in me when everyone else didn't. #igotthecallupguys— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) October 6, 2012
Never let anyone tell you your done when you have more in your tank. Coach Zigi Chris Henderson and Adrain thanks for believing in me.— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) October 6, 2012
I've been waiting for this opportunity for a longtime.— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) October 6, 2012
Assuming this is legit, it will be the first time in two years that Johnson has been asked to wear the red, white and blue. As Stars and Stripes FC points out, if he plays against Antigua and Barbuda on Oct. 12, it would be two years to the day since his last appearance.
While this is clearly very good and well-deserved news for Johnson, it will likely leave the Sounders a bit more short-handed for their game against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 17. They were already going to be missing Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez and it would seem highly unlikely that Johnson could feature even if he returned to the Sounders immediately following the United States' game against Guatemala in Kansas City, Kan.
On the other hand, it does kind of even the playing field for that game, as RSL will be missing several players of their own. Among the players that will likely be away on national-team duty are Luis Gil (U.S. U-20s), Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica), Will Johnson (Canada) and possibly Kyle Beckerman (United States).
Johnson's obvious replacement would be Sammy Ochoa, who has played reasonably well in the two games he has filled in. Both came against the San Jose Earthquakes and Ochoa contributed an assist and hit the woodwork a total of three times. The other possible replacement is David Estrada, who started the season playing Johnson's role and scored four goals in his first two games.