Little went as the United States had hoped in a 2-0 loss to Ukraine last week.
Aron Johannsson, however, didn’t waste much time afterward in adding to make his case as the Americans’ best World Cup scoring option.
The 23-year-old, who made his debut for the U.S. national team last year, scored twice during Dutch league action on Saturday — giving him 24 goals in 40 games across all competitions this season.
Johannsson came on as a second-half substitute for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann in the loss to Ukraine, then showed he’s fully recovered from a recent groin injury by scoring twice in a 4-0 win for AZ Alkmaar over Heracles Almelo.
He has 16 goals in Dutch Eredivisie play this season, along with seven goals in the Dutch Cup and another during Europa League action.
The forward’s second goal, in particular, on Saturday showed a deft touch in front of the goal.
After receiving a crossing pass with his back to the goal, Johannsson spun his way through two defenders before collecting the ball and easily sending it past the recovering goalkeeper.
The finishing touch served as yet another reminder of Johannsson’s scoring prowess, coming at a time when Jozy Altidore is struggling for consistent playing time with Sunderland in the English Premier League.
Altidore scored 31 goals last season for AZ, a record for an American in a European club season, but has just two this season.
AZ has a minimum of 10 games and could have more if it advances past Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala in the third round of the Europa League or Ajax Amsterdam in the Dutch Cup semifinals.
HOLDEN’S WOES: A host of injuries kept American Stuart Holden from serious consideration for this year’s World Cup roster.
Holden’s vowed on Twitter that he’ll “never give up” after his latest injury, which sent him to his fourth knee surgery in three years.
The 28-year-old Bolton midfielder will miss the next six-to-nine months after surgery on Monday to repair ligaments in his right knee. The injury occurred during a game with Bolton’s under-21 team on March 10, his first action since returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee sustained in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final last July.
Holden has endured a host of major injuries since breaking his right leg while playing for the U.S. in 2010. That was followed by a pair of left knee injuries, though he did return last year — playing in eight club games and starting four for the U.S.
The good fortune didn’t last for the midfielder, who has 25 appearances and three goals in his career for the national team. A day after the latest operation, Holden did find the time to share a positive piece of information — tweeting news of his engagement.