Sean Johnson continues MLS domination as NYCF moves to top of the table in East

Sean Johnson NYCFC
New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson (1) makes a save on a Minnesota United shot in the second half at Allianz Field.
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a pretty good couple of days for NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson. 

First, he was invited to take the place of Zack Steffen on the US men’s national team for their slate of games next month, and then he helped backstop his team to extend their unbeaten streak to eight games over the weekend. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering how dominant he has been for NYCFC this season. 

Having already played an instrumental role in their first MLS championship last season, Johnson has picked up right where he left off. In 13 games this season, Johnson has eight clean sheets which include six straight after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Minnesota. 

He leads Major League Soccer in shutouts this season. As a team, NYCFC has allowed just 10 goals against, which is tied with the  Philadelphia Union for the fewest in the league. 

“To keep (a clean sheet) again is an amazing achievement,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Delia said. “We needed him (tonight) and he showed up. He’s done that before, when we really needed [him] he’s been there, and he did it again, so I’m not surprised.”

The effort from the reigning MLS Cup MVP has warranted his inclusion on the national team next month for their slate of Concacaf Nations League and friendly matches. His last appearance for USMNT was during a friendly against Costa Rica in 2020. 

He has made nine appearances for the national team and recorded four clean sheets. 

His strong efforts internationally and domestically have given him a strong reputation around MLS. 

“To be honest, for me before I even came to this team I knew Sean Johnson is one of the best (goalkeepers) in the league,” NYCFC’s Alfredo Morales said. “He showed this last year in the playoffs and this year as well.  He’s so reliable, a great leader and our captain.  For me there is no question about it, I’m not sure if he gets the credit or enough credit but in our team and for me, he is the best in the league.”

The five shots that he turned away against Minnesota marked the highest number of shots Johnson has faced since New York’s 5-4 win over Toronto on April 24 at Citi Field. That marked the last time Johnson or NYCFC had surrendered a goal this season. 

The Saturday victory marked New York’s seventh win in their last eight regular-season games and they moved to the top of the table in the Eastern Conference. They’re one point ahead of Philadelphia.