The game looked destined to be decided via the lottery of a penalty shoot-out with the sides locked at 2-2 and the clock showing seconds remaining. But the Seattle Sounders star had other ideas and set off towards the Chelsea box before unleashing a shot that deflected cruelly off the legs of David Luiz and over a stranded Ross Turnbull.
San Jose Earthquakes goal machine Chris Wondolowski had put the hosts ahead after good work from Thierry Henry down the left flank, but Chelsea hit back though the head of John Terry before the break. Frank Lampard looked to have turned the game decisively in Chelsea’s favour with a strike but a wonderfully worked equaliser finished off by Chris Pontius saw the MLS draw level before Johnson’s late show.
Both sides settled quickly and showed attacking intentions from the outset. And although Chelsea enjoyed the majority of the early possession with Lampard, Yossi Benayoun and Michael Essien winning the midfield battle, it was the MLS who took the lead through Wondolowski. Great work from Landon Donovan wrested back possession and his pass found Henry who in turn played in Wondolowski to fire home after stealing in well ahead of Terry.
If Terry was caught napping there, the Chelsea talisman made amends in typical fashion moments later, rising to meet Lampard’s corner and heading into the far corner of the net.
Chelsea continued to press but MLS almost had a second when David Beckham’s accurate pass found Henry on the edge of the box only for the Frenchman to sidefoot just over the bar.
Lampard had a great opportunity to put the visitors ahead shortly after the restart but for a brilliant save from Chivas substitute keeper Dan Kennedy. But straight from the resultant corner, Kennedy flapped and missed Ramires’s cross to present the Chelsea midfielder with a free sidefoot home into an empty net.
It was Lampard’s last contribution and as Roberto di Matteo rang the changes from the substitutes bench, the MLS side began to threaten.
Great work from Dwayne De Rosario from a searching Beckham pass saw him pull back for Pontius to draw them level before a free-kick from De Rosario rippled the top of the net.
As penalties loomed, Johnson sealed the win with his strike.
Chelsea next travel to Miami to face AC Milan on July 28, the final match of their US tour.