honda returns to FURIA's starting lineup as junior steps down
The North American AWPer will return home as he looks to reset after a loss of individual form.
Paytyn "junior" Johnson has stepped down from FURIA's active roster, the Brazilian organisation has announced, with backup player Lucas "honda" Cano taking his place and returning to the team's starting lineup after previously stepping in for the squad in the BLAST Premier Global Final and cs_summit 7 at the start of the year.
Although their subsequent result, a 3-4th finish in ESL Pro League Season 14, showed early signs of improvement, FURIA were unable to maintain that trajectory and failed to regain the level they had showcased in 2020, with junior averaging just a 0.92 rating as the team's primary AWPer - a far cry from his stellar numbers on Triumph, where he was one of the main stars, or from those of his predecessor, Henrique "HEN1" Teles (1.14 rating).
"junior's performance wasn't the one we expected, not by us and not by himself," FURIA's head coach Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira stated in regards to the team's recent cs_summit 8 run. "That's due to several reasons. He asked me to go back home, because he was a little tired, feeling pressured. It's tough for an American, young boy, who speaks English in the middle of some people who only speak Portuguese on a daily basis, out of game."
guerri went on to say that although the team made an effort to speak English and include junior, the level and speed of communication wasn't the same as native speakers, something that surely caused performance issues for the AWPer in-game. The head coach also stated that with the level FURIA are at today, they can't allow themselves to slip as they are doing now, and as a result he has decided to grant junior his wish to return home to reset by placing him on the bench.
"Everyone on the team is super sick and they are like brothers to me," junior said when contacted by HLTV.org. "I just needed a break to reset because my mental is shot." The North American is set to return to the USA, where he will look to unwind and regain his prior form.
The 20-year-old Brazilian, who averaged a 0.84 rating over 16 maps in a trial by fire during his first two tournament appearances for FURIA, will hope to improve on his initial performances after sitting behind the team during practices and officials in the past months. With no tournaments lined up for FURIA in June, his first appearance will likely come in IEM Cologne 2021, which is set to run from July 8-18.
FURIA's roster now looks as follows:
Paytyn "junior" Johnson (benched)