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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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What’s behind Will Johnson’s breakout year?

Will Johnson is enjoying a breakout season in Portland.

The former Real Salt Lake midfielder has six goals and three assists in league play this season. It took him five seasons with RSL to find the back of the net nine times.

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But while plenty have theories about why, Johnson still is searching for the answer.

"It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot, and I still don’t really have a good answer for it," Johnson said Tuesday afternoon after training at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Johnson would have had extra defensive duties on the side of Jason Kreis’ diamond midfield, which might have limited his goal-scoring output. But both Kreis and Johnson said they felt the 26-year-old Canadian was capable of this.

"I don’t think it’s night and day from what I did in Salt Lake," Johnson said. "Everybody looks at the goals and likes to think I’m a completely new player. I think I could have done the same thing here in this formation that I do in a different formation up in Portland."

Kreis said his former player showed signs of brilliance in training, and called him "one of the best shooters around."

"It was always a case of how many times he would get himself in the right spots," Kreis said about the Portland captain.

- Aaron Falk

Twitter: @aaronfalk

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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