I’ve been hearing the rumors for over a month now and finally something has come to fruition. Eddie Johnson has been traded to DC United for allocation money. In a surprisingly painless and silent fashion, the deed was done.
Only two years into his rather controversial career in Seattle with the Sounders, they have decided to ship him a long way off. I have not yet understood how I feel as a Sounders fan about getting rid of the leading goal scorer on the team. It sits right and wrong with me. With 28 goals across several different leagues for the Sounders, he is only behind Fredy Montero for the second most all-time for the team. He has scored the most goals in MLS playoffs for Seattle, scored the most in one season for a Sounders player and probably the most important stat on top of that was the fact that he scored in big games. He netted five goals in just seven matches against the arch rival Portland Timbers.
Not to mention he is a wonderful comeback story, a super talent who bounced around Europe never really being able to find his spot where he fit in and was given a chance two years ago by the Sounders and thrived. He was given a second, probably fourth or fifth chance to brighten his career and he sky-rocketed. Well, no one can say he didn’t do that by playing at a blazing pace right out the gate which got him eventually to the MLS All-Star Game where he won the game against Chelsea with a smashing goal and finally got the attention he deserved from the Men’s national team which had for so long eluded him. He would continue his clutch play by scoring wicked goals at all the right times against the world’s top talent in World Cup qualifiers proving his hometown play was no fluke.
No one has ever really played like that in the MLS, especially for Seattle. No doubt, I feel a bit torn but at the same time, this was probably the right time and for the seemingly right reasons.
He had cancerous characteristics.
Several roadblocks played into why EJ was shipped almost as far away from Seattle as possible. One thing was for sure, that man wanted to get paid. He made that very clear when he scored a goal on August 31st and showed off his very passive aggressive “Pay Me” shirt. However, what isn’t known by many is that the Sounders weren’t in a position to pay him the big bucks with a full allotment of three players. Not only that but by making that statement and knowing his intentions, it automatically began to sever the relationship because whether he knew that little tidbit or not, we couldn’t pay him.
His outward attitude didn’t stop there. Money wasn’t the only divide. Eddie was all over the shop. Whether it was an incident in Chicago with an inappropriate gesture, his aggression in San Jose, social network outbursts or the strenuous relationships he continued to have with fellow teammates all made him a detrimental teammate and a loose cannon.
It was becoming more and more about Eddie and less and less about the Sounders. That kind of attitude within a locker room just isn’t going to fly.
Such adjectives as disruptive, abusive, uncoachable and ‘the problem’ have all been used to describe the superstar and yet still I feel uneasy but having Eddie Johnson on another team.
He is that dang good!
Still, the allocation money – a large undisclosed amount - the Sounders are set to receive should be able to help them become more well-rounded by adding a few important players that could help them make a better run at the MLS Cup.
Obviously having the superstar names last year alone didn’t get the job done so heading in a fuller, more complete direction could be a good idea. Sounders fans are loyal, filling the stadium isn’t a means to an end anymore so now they must make the right moves and add the right pieces to win in the playoffs.
Dare I say this is a fresh start?
Regardless of his play, we all know what else lay within the talented Mr. Johnson and even though he had his flaws he was a pleasure to watch and root for. As hard as it is to see him leave it is time to bid him farewell and as this chapter closes for the Sounders, who knows what the future may hold. No matter what, Eddie Johnson’s legacy will forever be tied to the Pacific Northwest and from here what else helps solidify that legacy will be interesting to watch.