December 7, 2019

D.C. United acquires forward Eddie Johnson from Seattle Sounders

A much talked about move over the last 24 hours was made official Tuesday afternoon, as D.C. United completed a deal to acquire U.S. National Team forward Eddie Johnson from the Seattle Sounders, the team announced in a press release. According to the club, United is sending allocation money to Seattle in exchange for Johnson, though an amount wasn’t given.

Johnson, who will turn 30 early next season, spent the last two seasons with the Sounders after returning to MLS from playing overseas. Johnson is a veteran of 140 MLS regular-season matches, scoring 64 goals and adding 18 assists. He had 23 goals in 49 appearances for Seattle in 2012 and 2013.

Johnson debuted with the then-Dallas Burn in 2001, scoring a goal in 10 appearances. He played for Dallas (rebranded as FC Dallas in 2005) for five seasons before moving to Kansas City. There, he scored but two goals in 19 appearances in 2006, but then netted 15 times in 2007, sparking a move to Fulham of the English Premier League.

Abroad, Johnson played for Fulham, Cardiff City, and Aris FC (Greece). With the United States in 2013, Johnson scored five goals in 17 matches, including 9 starts. Johnson has scored 19 goals for the United States since making his international full-team debut in 2004.

The acquisition is a bold move for United, which scored just 22 goals as a team while finishing last in Major League Soccer last season. Johnson’s nine goals for the Sounders were the same amount as United’s top three scorers managed combined, as Luis Silva, Dwayne De Rosario, and Kyle Porter all tied for team-high honors with three goals each.

With Seattle, Johnson was part of a high-profile attack trio, along with Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. Seattle went 6-1 in seven matches following Dempsey’s expensive acquisition from Tottenham in the Premier League. But then, the Sounders and their offense fell apart. Seattle was routed in back-to-back games against Colorado and Vancouver by a combined score of 9-2.

Seattle went 0-4-3 to finish the season, scoring just five goals. Seattle did make the playoffs and beat Colorado in the first-round play-in game, but then were eliminated, 5-3, on aggregate by Portland. Johnson score in the knockout win over Colorado, and the final goal in the loss to Portland. But the poor ending to the season made it likely that the trio of Dempsey, Martins, and Johnson wasn’t going to stay together. And with Dempsey signed long-term and Martins coming off an 8-goal season himself, Seattle could shop Johnson around.

United’s acquisition of Johnson is its fourth addition in about a week. The club had already traded an international slot to Montreal for midfielder Davy Arnaud. In the Re-Entry Draft, United selected defenders Sean Franklin (Los Angeles) and Bobby Boswell (Houston). United also signed forward Conor Doyle, who finished last season on loan with the club from Derby County, to a permanent contract. The moves can’t do anything but help a squad that was helpless at times last season, going 3-24-7 in the league despite winning the U.S. Open Cup.

These moves should also strengthen the team for its appearance in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, which begins with group stages next fall. All the moves have  been completed without United relinquishing its number-one overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, where D.C. should be able to land another player who will be expected to help the team immediately.

Johnson stands 6-foot tall and is listed at 180 pounds. “I’m excited with this move to the most storied franchise in MLS,” said the Florida native in the team press release. “I look forward to getting started with my new D.C. United teammates.”

United begins the 2014 MLS regular season on March 8 at RFK Stadium against the Columbus Crew.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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