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May 31, 2024 6:23 pm

Sean Johnson, Toronto FC aim to stay hot at D.C. United

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson reached a milestone this week, but he doesn’t want to stop there.

After recording his 100th career regular-season clean sheet, he’ll look to continue the trend Saturday night in Washington against D.C. United.

“He’s starting to become a bit of an MLS legend,” Toronto coach John Herdman said. “Probably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. I can’t say enough about the big man. He has done a (great) job for us this season.”

Toronto (7-7-2, 23 points) finished with a scoreless road draw with the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, marking the team’s first clean sheet in more than a month.

Defender Sigurd Rosted said the team has concentrated on the defensive end.

“Beginning of the season we had a lot of clean sheets and we wanted to get back to those days again,” Rosted said.

Part of Toronto’s recent success has come because Johnson has had less to do, according to Herdman. But his presence makes a difference for Toronto.

“It’s really ensuring for us defenders to know that we have a strong hand in the back there,” Rosted said. “We know we can rely on him.”

For Johnson, this will be an extended stay in Washington. Next weekend, he’ll play for the U.S. men’s national team vs. Colombia in a friendly while Toronto is on a two-week layoff.

Meanwhile, D.C. United (4-6-6, 18 points) is on a four-match winless streak.

“We need to win Saturday,” D.C. United coach Troy Lesesne said. “I think everyone can recognize that.”

D.C. United fell 4-2 to CF Montreal in Wednesday night’s road match, playing the second half a man down after Matti Peltola received a red card.

“Those are hard lessons to learn,” Lesesne said. “It sets the tone for having to dig yourself out of situations.”

The losing stretch could start to wear on the team despite some encouraging moments.

“I saw a group that continued to fight,” Lesesne said. “We have a lot of work to do. That’s the truth.”

D.C. United forward Christian Benteke, after scoring two goals vs. CF Montreal, is tied for the MLS lead with 13 goals this season.

Toronto and D.C. United split two matches last year, each winning at home.

–Field Level Media

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