Sounders' Eddie Johnson still has something to prove
Four months later, the Sounders have no regrets making the trade that brought Eddie Johnson to Seattle. The forward says he has more to prove.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Montreal Impact, 4:30 p.m., KONG
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TUKWILA — Eddie Johnson knows Sounders FC sacrificed a lot to bring him to Seattle.
The forward also knows the preseason trade that sent the promising pair of Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito to Montreal in exchange for him will receive extra attention this week heading into Saturday's road game against the Impact.
So is Johnson, who has three goals and an assist in seven MLS starts, happy with how he has done on his end?
"Sort of," said the 28-year-old, lamenting an injury-plagued start to the season. "But I want to be out there and be at the top, competing with the (scoring) leaders in the league. That's one of my goals, as well as winning an MLS Cup here in Seattle. Happy? Yeah. But I still want to accomplish a lot more."
Statistically, it's hard to argue against the Sounders getting the better end of the deal so far.
Neagle, a Federal Way native, has been an off-and-on starter for the Impact and has no goals and two assists in 11 games. Fucito played just 26 minutes in one substitute appearance before an April trade sent him to Portland, where he has played just 10 minutes in two games.
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said it will be easier to assess the trade at the end of the season, particularly being unsure of Montreal's feelings or future plans regarding Neagle, "but certainly it was a trade that we felt at the time made sense to us and we still feel it was a trade that makes sense."
General manager Adrian Hanauer told the league website he would make the trade again, however controversial it was back in February, knowing what he knows now.
"Ultimately, our objective is to win championships," Hanauer said to MLSsoccer.com. "If Eddie helps us win championships, then it's been a good trade."
Johnson isn't sure of the reception he'll get in Montreal, where he was a player for just an instant. In his return to MLS after an embattled four years in Europe, Johnson initially thought he might end up with the expansion team, which had priority in acquiring a player with U.S. national team experience.
In the end, Johnson told the Impact his preference would be to play elsewhere, despite having established relationships with coaches Jesse Marsch and Mike Sorber from time with the national team.
Johnson will try to avoid being distracted by the story lines this week.
"For me, it's just all about what we're trying to accomplish here," said Johnson, who has taken a recent hiatus from Twitter to focus more on soccer.
"I'm just going to put my head down, and whatever my role is in the game this weekend, I just want to go out there and make a contribution and get the team back to winning ways."
• Another Sounder with Montreal connections is backup goalkeeper Andrew Weber, who played there in the United Soccer Leagues in 2006-08. "I know the whole staff and it's cool to go back," said Weber, who has kept in touch with some Impact fans through Facebook.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers.