The numbers look pretty poor for the dynamic duo up top. Three starts together and three losses. Each loss was crushing and against the measuring stick rivals in the West. Neither of the two scored, nor did they get many chances. On the simplest level a strike force of Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins is expected to score goals, lots of pretty goals. And yet they aren't. Some question the use of two high forwards as if that mere tactic can not work. Others think there may be some sort of emotional issue between the two. The grasping for reasons is almost Britta-esque psychology.
Bare facts are something quite different. Three games is not a sample size. It is an amuse bouche. Those particular three matches may be the worst possible ones upon which to judge such a miniscule set of minutes. Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy are good teams. All three matches were on the road. It is not surprising when a forward pair that has not played together with a reduced midfield behind them do not perform. Service and practice time actually matter. That's an odd thing to state, but between health and national team calls EJ and Oba have little practice together.
This week that changes.
Both Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins are together in practice, in full health and they are working on things for that strike partnership to be one that can perform against the best teams. They also look to have a full month together before the harsh test of a top of table team comes back to town.
"It's just the timing and understanding," Johnson spoke Friday about what the pair needed to do in training, "where Oba wants the ball when we have the ball and us in the final third combining. Oba has a ton of experience. He knows the game. No one can tell the guy he doesn't know the game. He's played for big teams. For me to have that opportunity to play with a guy who has played with the biggest players in the world, big time strikers, for me it is a blessing. I'm trying to soak up as much as I can. I think the timing is off right now - the understanding, the chemistry. I couldn't ask for a better teammate and Lamar would say the same thing."
Losing to RSL and LA still happened, but they were not the test. They were regular season matches without significant practice time together in less than ideal circumstances (there were losses and weaknesses on the other sides as well), but now the big two get to work together, play together, train together.
Wednesday they need to start scoring together.