Major League Soccer

Sean Johnson branded ‘best in the league’ by NYCFC

Lizzy Becherano
New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson branded 'best in the league.'
New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson branded 'best in the league.' / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

New York City FC triumphed 1-0 over Minnesota United on Saturday as Sean Johnson stepped up to become the match’s defining figure in the final minutes.

The goalkeeper stopped five Minnesota attempts before denying Emmanuel Reynoso a goal in the 90th minute to maintain New York’s lead atop the Eastern Conference standings and earn praise from head coach Ronny Deila. 

"He saved us today," Delia said of their captain.

Johnson also managed his eighth clean sheet this season, and remains unscored upon in his last six starts. He last conceded a goal on April 24, in the shocking 5-4 victory over Toronto FC

"To keep [a clean sheet] again is an amazing achievement," 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."

"For me, before I even came, it's pretty clear he's one of the best, maybe the best in the league," added midfielder Alfredo Morales. "Last year, he showed us, especially in our playoff run, and this year as well. He's so reliable, he's a great leader."

The NYCFC figure currently leads the 2022 MLS Golden Glove race with his eight clean sheets, clear of second place by two. 

His strong presence in the league also inspired a recent USMNT call-up, but only after first choice Zack Steffen backed out of the squad due to family reasons. The initial snub left Deila confused, hailing his goalkeeper as a natural shoo-in. 

"I don't know the other goalkeepers [as well] that's the coaches to take that decision, and you have to respect that," said Delia. "At the same time, Sean can do more than they can do now, keeping clean sheets."

Regardless of the circumstances, Johnson is now set to report to USMNT camp for the June international window as the American side faces Morocco and Uruguay in friendlies, and El Salvador and Grenada in Nations League action.