Johansen makes MLS debut, could start playoffs

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

The Bronx — Eirik Johansen made his first league appearance for New York City FC Sunday — and may make his second next Sunday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“There’s always been a competition in that position, or any other position in the team” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “I make a decision and sometimes I make the right one and sometimes I make the wrong one. But I still have one week, we have to look at the team we’re going to face and we have to look at how they’re going to train during the week. I have to speak with Rob [Vartughian], the goalkeeping coach and we’re going to make a decision at the right time.”

Johansen made six saves in NYCFC’s 4–1 win against Columbus Crew SC and completed 14 of 17 passes. Prior to his league debut, Johansen had only appeared in the U.S. Open Cup the past two seasons. He started in City’s friendly against Club Necaxa and Vieira said before Sunday’s match game that it would be the best chance to get Johansen playing time this season.

“It will always be a competition. I like it because Eirik is challenging Josh [Saunders] and if Josh is playing well then it’s a credit to Eirik as well because of the way he was doing in training. He’s challenging Josh and that’s what we need.”