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TFC completes trade with Timbers for Will Johnson

Will Johnson Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Will Johnson Godofredo Vasquez/USA Today Sports

Toronto FC continued its recent run of adding veteran names in the offseason on Friday, but its second signing on the day came as a special homecoming of sorts.

The Canadian side began the day by adding former Vancouver Whitecaps defender Steven Beitashour, then hours later announced the arrival of Portland Timbers captain and MLS Cup champion Will Johnson.

In bringing Johnson to Toronto, the club will send Portland a conditional second round selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and targeted allocation money. Per club and league policy, the terms of the deal were not made public.

Johnson, a Toronto native, discussed his excitement in returning to his hometown.

“I’m excited to return to my hometown of Toronto and play in front of one of the best fan bases in MLS,” said Toronto FC midfielder Will Johnson in a release. “I look forward to this new challenge and cannot wait to meet my new teammates.”

The 28-year old spent three seasons with the Timbers, where he served as captain after head coach Caleb Porter took over the reigns. Johnson featured in 12 matches for the Timbers during their 2015 title-winning season, after battling injury and undergoing surgery to remove screws in his right tibia. The Canadian’s most successful single season for the Cascadia club came in 2013, when he tallied nine goals and five assists.

“We are pleased to add another Canadian international and veteran player with MLS experience that has won two MLS Cups with two different clubs in his career,” TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said.

“The addition of Will Johnson will help strengthen our goal of developing a winning culture and spirit here at Toronto FC. He represents another significant piece as we continue to build a championship caliber club.”

By joining Toronto FC, Johnson will be playing for his fourth MLS club, after previously competing for the Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake and the Timbers. The Canadian has started a total of 189 matches in his MLS career, tallying 25 goals and 15 assists in the process.


    • Yes! I’m a Timbers and USMNT fan, and I’ve long thought this. Will Johnson’s game, work rate and style (and his intense, sometimes combative demeanor) is very similar to Michael Bradley. He isn’t the athlete Bradley is, doesn’t have the ball skill or vision, but his style and the role he plays is very similar. It will be interesting to see how Greg Vanney deploys both Bradley and Johnson given their similarity, because I think a healthy Will Johnson is definitely good enough to start in this league.

    • Not sure this comment makes any sense – since a man who is not poor now owns both players. Either way, Timbers werent poor and just won the Cup with Capn Willy on the roster.


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