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Sounders trade for Eddie Johnson

Post by Darrin Beene / The News Tribune on Feb. 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm with 9 Comments »
February 17, 2012 4:30 pm

The Seattle Sounders may have found an answer for their second forward position: U.S. international Eddie Johnson.

The team announced a trade for Johnson today, as they sent forward Mike Fucito and midfielder Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact. Montreal had selected Johnson with the No. 1 pick in the MLS allocation process.

Johnson, 27, signed with MLS earlier this week after spending much of the past five years with Fulham of the English Premier League.

“Eddie is a high quality striker who is a very good finisher,” said Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson, who coached Johnson at Kansas City. “We are very excited to have him join Sounders FC in our quest for another successful season.”

A member of the U.S. National Team since scoring in his debut in October 2004, Johnson has made 41 appearances with 12 goals for the senior team. He has scored eight goals in only nine FIFA World Cup qualifying appearances, and is the only U.S. player to score a hat trick coming off the bench (October 13, 2004).

Johnson became the first player in national team history to score in each of his first four appearances, three of which were 2006 World Cup qualifying matches. He is one of the most prolific scorers in U.S. Youth National Team history, tallying 37 career goals in 51 international youth games with the U-17s, U-20s and U-23s.

“It’s always difficult to part ways with two quality individuals who have contributed greatly to the success of our first three years,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “We saw this as a unique opportunity to bring a player in with World Cup and international experience who can help us in our quest to win the MLS Cup.”

A native of Daytona Beach, Fla., Johnson returns to MLS where he began his professional career. He played four seasons for FC Dallas before joining Kansas City for two seasons, scoring 41 goals with 13 assists in 127 MLS appearances.

The six-foot forward spent four seasons with Fulham, signing with the EPL side in 2007. He made 19 appearances with the senior team. Johnson was loaned to English League Championship side Cardiff City for the 2008-09 season where he appeared in 30 games and scored two goals. In 2009 he was loaned to Aris of the Greek Super League, appearing in 12 games with one goal. Johnson’s stint in Europe ended with a loan to Championship side Preston North End where he scored one goal in 16 appearances.

Johnson will join the team on Saturday in Florida.

Fucito, 25, was selected by Seattle in the fourth round (46th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. In his three seasons with Sounders FC, he scored three goals with two assists in 23 appearances. Fucito added five goals with one assist in the 2010 and 2011 CONCACAF Champions League and also scored two goals in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Neagle, 24, was signed by Sounders FC on March 2, 2011. A native of Federal Way, Wash. he scored five goals with two assists in 23 league appearances in 2011, and added a goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Neagle was named MLS Player of the Week in August for his hat trick against the Columbus Crew.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. derekyoung says:

    I think I said a couple years ago the Sounders should take a look at EJ as he fell out of favor in Europe. Unfortunately he hasn’t played much at all since. Giving up Neagle and Fucito’s potential for him is a high price. I guess I’ll keep faith in the FO but this one is hard for me to see.

  2. elmocatt says:

    Wow! That is a big roll of the dice for the team. EJ has talent (in theory) just never seemed to put it all together, both on the club level and for the USMNT. He would have a good match, and then just disappear for months at a time.

    Fucito is one of my favs, total effort guy. And Neagle’s upside is huge. Like I said, big roll of the dice for the team – appears to be trading long term future for win now in the CCL and MLS. Hoep this works out for the team and for EJ. If he doesn’t produce, can see the faithful turning on him real fast.

  3. I’m not sure how I totally feel about this trade, but i’m definitely bummed about losing Fucito and Neagle, two of my favorite players. I guess there is some reason for this time to “win now” since we’ve tasted success for a few seasons, but like it’s been said, huge gamble.

  4. I love the all in gamble. That said, there had to be someone else than Neagle. Who knows. Guess the internationals are looking good. I am sad. I’m also all in.

  5. elmocatt says:

    Here is what Montreal’s coach thinks about the trade – hope the loss of Fucito and Neagle does not come back to bite us.

    “We have made our team much stronger today,” Impact Coach Jesse Marsch said. “Mike Fucito is a dynamic and talented young forward who we believe is on the verge of having a great year and establishing himself as a very good forward in MLS. Lamar Neagle is a player who is a very good offensive threat from wide positions and has also shown that he can score goals.”

  6. EverydayFan says:

    Sigi is a genius, so I trust him in times like this.
    Fucito and Neagle were great Sounders, and I’ll root for their continued success.
    To their credit, they made a hugely positive impact on Seattle … Made us proud!
    I hope they rake in their success.
    In a way, I hope it motivates the Sounders.
    A sense of purpose … Honor those guys with hard work and dedication.
    Show we didn’t lose them for nothing.

    Go Sounders

  7. LastEvenings says:

    I don’t know if this is really that big a deal, Fucito and Neagle were likely to be squad players this year and, based on the last four years of his career, EJ projects as a squad player as well. It is to bad we lost a well liked local guy in the process.

  8. ZombieLatics says:

    I am an admitted soccer idiot on here, but when I saw the report, I was kinda happy with it. I like Johnson, and pair him with Montaro and that seems pretty sweet. Some more goals would be nice (I am an American, after all).

  9. offthewoodwork says:

    Last year, our midfielders produced more goals than our forwards. The goals from forwards came almost exclusively from Montero. That Montero played much of last season with a broken wrist and was still our lone scoring threat up front speaks volumes to the area of greatest weakness on this team, which is the second forward role.

    Neagle was very good for us last year, but he occupies a role in which we have a ton of depth. Sivebaek appeared to have overtaken him on the depth chart and Cato is much younger and is very talented. What makes this trade hurt the most is that Neagle is a local guy. He wasn’t part of the core of the team though.

    He disappeared in the first leg of the playoffs against RSL. I know a lot of our players played very poorly that night, but his role is so important to the build up that it allowed RSL to dominate possession and take a 3-0 lead.

    Fucito was good at drawing defenders away and creating some space for Montero, but because he lacked the ability to put away scoring opportunities, the bulk of the pressure was still on Montero. Adding a 10+ goals per season scoring threat beside Montero up front will open up more space, not only for the forwards, but also for the scoring threats in the midfield like Fernandez, Evans, and Rosales.

    I ask the critics of this deal how many goals do both Montero and Johnson have to score this year to make the deal worth it? In league play in 2011, Montero scored 12 (although that number almost certainly would have been higher if he hadn’t broken his wrist), the other forwards combined for 6 goals (2 each from White, Fucito, and Ochoa). Neagle scored 5 goals in about 1000 minutes in 23 matches, with 9 starts. Since Sivebaek will probably occupy his role this season, let’s assume his production is equal to that of 2011 Neagle.

    For me, for this trade to be worth it, Johnson needs to score at least 10 goals and Montero needs to eclipse 15 and challenge for the Golden Boot.

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