Commentary: Eddie Johnson won't go away

Second straight EPL appearance for EJ keeps him in USMNT picture

The big news out of Blackburn on Saturday afternoon is Clint Dempsey doing his
best Brian McBride impression, throwing his body around and absorbing
punishment while connecting on a game-tying header in the 56th minute. There is,
however, another important storyline: Eddie Johnson's second-straight
appearance.

The forward replaced his goal-scoring countryman in the
78th minute and helped Fulham remain undefeated in the English Premier League.
Last week, Johnson joined the proceedings in the 83rd minute – again replacing Dempsey – and earned a free kick that Moussa Dembele converted for the Cottagers'
game-winning tally.

Two weeks and two productive stints for the 26-year-old
who seemed to be destined for another loan less than a month ago. With Bobby
Zamora laid up for five months, Johnson will continue to see the pitch for
manager Mark Hughes. Better yet, in the rough and tumble EPL, substitute roles
have a way of morphing into starting spots overnight.

Of course, less than 20 minutes over two matches – and no
goals – won't have US manager Bob Bradley running to the phone ... or will it?

Herculez Gomez hasn't found his super-sub scoring touch
at Pachuca. Edson Buddle has returned to earth. Robbie Findley is Robbie
Findley. Break Shea needs to calm down. That Johnson continues to be on the
radar says as much about the inability of others to rise to the occasion as it
does about the Florida native. But the point is that he's still hanging around.

He'll play a part in October, probably in November, and
likely during the CONCACAF Gold Cup as well. Despite plenty of false endings, the last
chapter of Johnson's national-team career will be written yet.

That
said, if we're having this conversation in 2014, the US National Team is in trouble.