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MLS Ticker: Johnson signs DP deal with DCU, Red Bulls announce TV deal, and more

Eddie Johnson (7)

Photo by Tony Quinn/


D.C. United has shown Eddie Johnson the money.

Johnson has signed a deal with D.C. United as a Designated Player, the club announced on Thursday. The move was expected almost immediately after Johnson joined D.C. via a trade from the Seattle Sounders, but it had not been worked out until now.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but an report states that Johnson signed a two-year deal that will see him earn an average of $600,000 a season.

“Eddie is an elite striker who is in the prime of his career, and we are thrilled that he has made a commitment to D.C. United,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper. “We look forward to Eddie’s contributions on and off the field.”

Johnson has been one of the best forwards in MLS since returning in 2012. The 29-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team forward netted a combined 23 times and delivered five assists for the Sounders in regular season play the past two seasons, but was moved this offseason after becoming unhappy about his contract situation with the club.

During a game last year, Johnson celebrated a goal by making a pay-up gesture and uttering the words “Pay me.”

“I want to thank D.C. United for showing faith in me,” said Johnson. “I’m extremely proud to wear the Black-and-Red, and I am excited to get the season started with my new teammates.”

Here are more notes from around MLS:


MSG Networks will continue to be the TV home of the New York Red Bulls.

The club announced Thursday that it has agreed to a new multiyear extension that will keep MSG Networks as the regional television network that carries Red Bulls games. Additionally, MSG Networks will produce 22 of the club’s 34 regular season games this year, including Saturday’s season opener in Vancouver.

MSG Networks have held the telecast rights for the team since 1996.


The San Jose Earthquakes rounded out their 2014 preseason on Wednesday night by defeating USL Pro side Sacramento Republic, 2-0. Both goals came in the waning moments, with JJ Koval netting the winner in the 86th minute and Billy Schuler adding an insurance tally in stoppage time.

The Earthquakes will now set their sights on next Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals first leg against Deportivo Toluco before focusing on their MLS season opener versus Real Salt Lake on March 15.


The season might be around the corner, but Chicago Fire’s front office is seemingly still as busy as it was in the offseason.

The Fire announced on Thursday that they have waived midfielder Yazid Atouba. The Cameroon youth international made just three appearances for the club last season.

Chicago also made a move on Wednesday, trading a 2014 international roster spot to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for midfielder Matt Watson.


The Seattle Sounders just added a little more depth to their midfield.

The Sounders signed versatile midfielder Michael Azira on Thursday. Azira spent the past two seasons with the Charleston Battery of USL Pro, and scored seven goals in 46 appearances. He was also previously called up by Uganda for a 2014 World Cup qualifier.

“Michael is a versatile midfielder who can play outside back as well,” said Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson. “He’s a consistent passer and positions himself well defensively. He is very calm on the ball and adds depth to both the midfield and the back four.”


What do you think of D.C. United signing Johnson to a DP deal? How many goals do you see him scoring in 2014? Like what you’ve seen from the Earthquakes in advance of their CCL and MLS matches?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think we can all agree that EJ’s pay me the money antics last year were uncalled for and pretty stupid. Nevertheless, he deserved a much better paycheck than Seattle was giving him. The Sounders really made a mistake by not tearing up his original contract after the first year and giving him a hefty pay raise. I’ll bet if they had offered him something like $400 k then for multiple years he would still be there and would be a happy camper. I think he is far superior to Kenny Cooper.

    • So,.. Ej turns over a new leaf in DC ..? GTFO

      The guy can score but he was a f’n cancer on the squad -esp after returning from intl. duty

      Sounders saw his BS coming and utilized his services to the terms of the contract he signed. I saw him at the Superbowl parade. He skipped out on DC’s first pre season game to hang with his bros in Seattle


    • The interesting question would be what Seattle’s and DC’s offers were and whether he came out ahead or behind for his antics.

      You could then break that down and say that a Seattle-DC move is likely downward from a competitive perspective, even if it might have been the superior financial outcome. DC also has a more uncertain franchise future.

  2. About time proven MLS talents get paid based on performance. EJ may not be stand out character but he delivers on the field.

    • Agreed. How does no one else (on this board) see how good this guy is? I get that some people don’t like his attitude, but do people actually watch him. Great touch, hold up play, speed, and absolutely phenomenal in the air

  3. I find it so amazing that people have an issue with what players should make. They make what the team is willing to pay them and not one person would tell their employer don’t pay me that much, I’m not worth it.

    • It’s more from the Armchair General Manager perspective of how they’d spend the money.

      I generally agree with your payday comment but not entirely, a smart player who has already cashed in and/or been promised a front office future might be willing to reduce his demands to allow a better team to be built around them. Also, players in a reboot phase like Adu might do better to pick a situation as opposed to a paycheck, with the notion that renewed performance could then lead to a next lucrative move but one where they have momentum going. If you take the payday and they then usher you to the bench, you haven’t helped your career or your future and you may exchange present pay for a NASL future.

  4. “Elite” strikers make more like $600,000 a month, how about “sometimes (but rarely) better than average striker who is still living off his extremely lucky MNT debut.”

  5. I think $350,000 – $450,000 would have been more acceptable for an MLS contract. Johnson is good but not that good. In comparison, Matt Besler, arguably a better player and a more integral member of the USMNT isn’t making $600,000 a year.

  6. We’ll see how he does with D.C United. I am eager to see whether Olsen can do a better job of coaching than last year.

  7. Glad to see EJ’s salary get back to the same salary he was making in MLS in 2007. He’s worth it. The tour d’Europe wasn’t.

  8. i just don’t get it. why is MLS overpaying average talent?

    Dempsey and Bradley I love and respect but they’re not worth 4-6 million a season. That’s the kinda cash that could have gotten us a Theo Walcott or Frank Lampard.

    Giving EJ 1.2 million over 2 seasons seems pointless? I doubt we see him score more than 15 goals or is DC United that desperate? why not double that amount and look to sign David Villa for 2 years? or Luca Toni

    • There is zero chance David Villa is coming to DC United for anything under 7 million a year and probably would want a 4 year contract. Not until he is 34 or 35 anyway.

    • Players are worth what they are worth because they put butts in seats and sell jerseys and air time.

      Michael Bradley wasn’t worth $4-$6 million…to Roma, or anybody else in Europe. He was worth that to Toronto FC, who were attempting to dramatically overhaul a team that was in the process of completely losing their fan base.

      Clint Dempsey wasn’t signing $30 million deals in England. He was worth that to Seattle, who can put 35,000+ butts in seats and have aspirations of eventually filling a stadium in America’s most soccer-mad city that can seat twice that.

      Just the market at work. It is worth noting that Sporting KC went the other way, signing no-name but very quality players and winning it all without splashing cash on a Beckham, a Dempsey, or a Bradley. Then again, Sporting KC obviously has a very good front office that’s built well and TFC certainly hasn’t had that in the past…they sort of had to make a big move, or lose the fans.

      • You’re leaving the footballer out of the equation, in Dempsey’s case they are trying to up their efforts to get a MLS Cup while keeping the big fanbase motivated. Similarly, in Bradley’s case they are trying to become a playoff team, which is what they need to keep the initial momentum in Toronto going.

        DC thinks they are doing the same sort of thing by signing a forward. The problem is that EJ is a rollercoaster who will give you 17 goals one season and be a team mascot whose goalscoring woes are legendary soon after.

        But I do think you’re going so cynical on this that you are leaving the sporting element out of the equation. Some fanbases may be inherently stronger and more resilient than others, but even Chivas had decent attendance when it was a playoff team. People respond to a winner and in that sense the acquisitions play out on the field as well as on a spreadsheet.

      • Dude, EJ is replacing Pajoy – it’s a big upgrade for DCU no matter how you slice it, plus they will pair him with Espindola, another big upgrade. And, frankly, your comparison between Bradeley/Deuce and EJ is misplaced. EJ is not coming from a European league and he will be paid a fraction of what the other two guys make.

      • If you look below I made a separate post saying he was a cheap DP if you had nothing better to do.

        Which EJ you get — the uptick version or the downslope version — determines if he’s an upgrade. He’s had quite a few years of phoned in performances or 2 goal seasons where the assumption he must be an upgrade is credulous.

      • Oh, I see your second post now and I agree with it. Having seen you second post, I no longer think that you meant to suggest here that EJ’s deal is similar to Bradley/Deuce deal. Your point re inconsistency is well taken, but I think that EJ will do better than 2 goals per season. He was inconsistent earlier in his career and also in Europe, but he had good production for the last two years with Seattle and I think EJ will be motivated to play hard and earn his place on the USMNT squad that is going to Brazil this summer.

    • EJ frustrated the heck out of me, watching him play here for some parts of many games.

      89 minutes of frustration and 1 minute of no one else can do that…and I mean no one in some cases.

      But you can’t knock his goals scoring…probably tougher in DC, but he knocked in a lot of goals. So many that I am wondering do you mean 15 goals a season or two seasons when you were complaining about him not being worth it.

      Seriously, he scored 14 in 2012.

      I was glad he moved on from my team, but when he jumps over another keeper and puts in a header no one else can score, DC will be glad he is playing there too.

      • I kept thinking that EJ would have put away the header that Altidore missed yesterday. EJ has incredible leaping ability and is better at heading in goals than any other US player.

    • DC is overpaying because they have money to burn right now. I don’t think they used up all of the ‘play’ money they received from MLS for finishing last and for winning the US Open Cup yet.

      • Exactly. DC is being lazy and doing the easy thing signing EJ for big bucks instead of finding some new talent. Questionable deal at best.

      • That’s a ignorant statement. DCU Academy currently has four of its homegrown players on its roster. Bill Hamid, Conor Shanosky, Colin Martin, and Micheal Seaton. They would also have out there playing Ethan White and Andy Najar if they had not traded them away.

      • Given the distinction between cap impact and paycheck impact, he is a low risk DP who only earns modestly more than his cap charge. If he flops they didn’t pay a ton more than a basic DP charge anyway. If he scores 15 he is a pretty cheap producer at $600K. They didn’t seem to be having some expensive international striker coming in before, so this is a reasonable risk and the downsides are just that he roller coasters back down or that you could have signed someone else the next few years and he closed that window.

        Risky is paying tens of millions for Jermaine Defoe. This is a performance risk but a relatively cheap one, and I’d not be surprised if there were yet more takers if he struggles or wears out his welcome yet again.

    • Theo Walcott would not come for 4-6 million, heck Drogba didn’t come when they offered him that. In order for a league like MLS to attract players like Dempsey or Bradley it will need to over pay for them, and they did.

  9. EJ is not worth DP money. He should have gone back to EUROPE. Greece or Belgium of Turkey or Switzerland. Could have found a decent team and got himself 400 K a season.

    • That’s completely incoherent nonsense. So EJ’s not worth DP money, but he should go to Europe (why?) and sign for a European club to make less money than he’s making at DCU. Um, got it. Please don’t operate heavy machinery.


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