Photo by Joshue Weisberg/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
D.C. United are coming off a season in which they scored the second fewest goals in MLS history, but help is on the way in the form of a U.S. Men’s National Team forward with a proven track record for scoring in the league.
United announced on Tuesday afternoon that they sent allocation money to the Seattle Sounders in exchange for forward Eddie Johnson. Johnson has been one of the top scorers in MLS since returning to the league in 2012, netting 23 goals in 49 regular season matches for a Seattle team that successfully reached the postseasons in each of the last two years.
“Eddie is coming off a terrific year with Seattle and the U.S. National Team, and we are very pleased to have acquired him,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper in a released statement. “He is one of the most dangerous attacking players in MLS, and we believe he will be an important contributor to our team.”
The 29-year-old Johnson enjoyed a career revival in Seattle during the past two seasons, but grew unhappy over his contract situation during the second half of the 2013 campaign (even uttering the words “Pay me” after a goal celebration vs. Columbus) and eventually burned so many bridges that a return became impossible.
Late last week the Sounders traded for the rights to forward Kenny Cooper, all but confirming that Johnson was no longer a part of the club’s plans regardless of how well he had performed.
“Eddie was a valuable part of our team the last two seasons,” said Sounders owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer in an officialy statement from the club. “Eddie is a tremendous player who gave us some wonderful moments. This was an opportunity for us to receive allocation money that can strengthen our club in many areas. We wish him the best in D.C.”
Johnson, who has been a regular in Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. rosters since October 2012, will now play for his fourth MLS team since beginning his career in the league in 2001. Aside from the Sounders, he also played for FC Dallas and the then-Kansas City Wizards before transferring to Premiership club Fulham in what was a largely unsuccessful move for him.
United have now added some real firepower to their attack after a dismal regular season campaign that saw them score just 22 goals and finish with the worst overall record at 3-24-7. Johnson is also familiar with head coach Ben Olsen, as the two were U.S. teammates at the 2006 World Cup.
“I’m excited with this move to the most storied franchise in MLS, and I look forward to getting started with my new D.C. United teammates,” said Johnson in United’s statement.
United host the Sounders in their lone regular season bout in 2014 on June 28, but Johnson could be away on World Cup duty at that time.
What do you think of the Sounders dealing Johnson to United in exchange for allocation money? Do you see him tearing it up under Olsen? Questioning why the Sounders did not get more in return?
Share your thoughts below.