Real Salt Lake FW Sam Johnson Called to Liberian National Team
SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake FW Sam Johnson has been called in to the Liberian National Team for upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Democratic Republic of Congo on March 24 at Stade des Martyers in Kinshasa, DR Congo. He will depart following RSL's match on Saturday against D.C. United and return ahead of RSL's match at Rio Tinto Stadium against FC Dallas on March 30.
"I'm very happy that Sam's getting called in," RSL Head Coach Mike Petke said. "He's still getting acclimated here with his teammates and with the league. The times that he has been on the field, he's produced for us in many ways and I know he's important to his national team."
Johnson, 25, has appeared off the bench in both of RSL's matches thus far this season, totaling 48 minutes. Prior to arriving in MLS, he scored 11 goals in 21 matches last season for Valerenga to lead the team in scoring and rank sixth in the league during the Eliteserien season. In addition, he scored two goals for the Liberian National Team, bringing his career total to two goals in 11 appearances since making his full international debut in 2015.
"This is a great opportunity for Sam," RSL General Manager Craig Waibel said. "He was a big part of his national team last year and this is an important game for them so we are glad he is getting the recognition he deserves with Liberia."
Liberia is currently second in African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group G at 2-2-1 (7 points), trailing Zimbabwe (2-1-2, 8 points). Johnson has one goal through the first five matches of the qualifying stage. A win on March 24 would clinch a spot in the African Cup of Nations, which will be in Egypt from June 21-July 19. Liberia has not qualified for the Cup of Nations since 2002, finishing ninth to better their only previous finish of 13th in 1996.
Real Salt Lake is currently 1-0-1 (4 points) and faces D.C. United on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT with broadcast coverage on KMYU, the KSL TV app, KSL.com and ESPN 700. After the club's first match at Audi Field, RSL will face LAFC at Banc of California Stadium before returning home to face FC Dallas on March 30. Tickets are available now at RSL.com/Tickets or by calling 844-REAL-TIX (844-732-5849).
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