It was only the ninth minute of play when Will Johnson, after taking an unsuccessful corner, saw the opportunity to score. He hung back on the Galaxy side of the field, making sure to keep himself onside. His team regained possession of the ball, and Johnson lofted his ball over the keeper, giving Orlando City an early 1-0 lead.
“He works very hard for the team and he doesn’t stop. We needed a player like that,” Cyle Larin said after the match. “I’m just happy he’s here and happy he scored his goal.”
But Johnson wasn’t finished.
After the Galaxy equalized in the 83rd minute, the Lions thought they might be taking their first draw at home. But Johnson and Larin made sure that wasn’t the case, when Johnson took a corner kick in the 90th minute that Larin shot into the net.
“Really pleased to see Will [Johnson] take that goal so well, he also assisted on the second goal, and it’s nice to see people that work so hard have some statistical success,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “I think his attitude and his work rate are infectious.”
Johnson has served as the captain for Orlando City since Kaká’s injury in the team’s season opener. A veteran of both MLS and the Canadian National Team, Johnson brings a relentless passion and work ethic to the Lions that has had an effect on the whole team. The results speak for themselves: Johnson has won three of his first four full matches as captain.
“I love walking out and leading a group of guys into an arena like that, it’s fun. I’ve had the privilege of doing it quite a number of times now, and it brings out the best in me,” Johnson said. “I want the guys to see me willing to put in a shift and work hard and try to make a ton of plays. And hopefully that rubs off on the other guys. My experience is that usually if the other guys see me trying to make plays, giving a little bit extra, hopefully they dig deep and give a little bit extra too. And when everybody does that, it creates a pretty powerful team chemistry and gets us results.”
“Thrilled to score my first goal for Orlando in general,” Johnson said. “And obviously with the quality of the strike, that’s just the cherry on top for me.”