DP’ing: MLS Signs Eddie Johnson

EJ juggled himself through Europe, now back to the States.

Eddie Johnson, back to MLS.

MLS VP Todd Durbin on a conference call earlier announced that Johnson will head back to the US domestic league and go through the normal allocation order to be assigned to a team.

Johnson returns after a foray overseas that saw him yo-yo in and out of Fulham’s reserve squad and some time in the 18, with jaunts to the Championship–most recently Preston North End–and to Aris with Freddy Adu.

Chivas USA–who traded for Juan Pablo Angel yesterday–are up first in the allocation. Should they pass it would then go Houston Dynamo, Toronto FC, Chicago Fire, and Sporting KC.

Where does EJ go? Who should he go to?

Our two cents: Let’s hope this isn’t an unfair contract for a player that couldn’t secure work overseas.

36 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/08/16 at 10:50 AM

    That’s what I thought would happen. This is great for MLS and Eddie


  2. Posted by dth on 2011/08/16 at 10:51 AM

    Well, considering how the Benny Feilhaber situation turned out–and Feilhaber is, of course, a better player than Johnson–I wouldn’t exactly expect teams to start skirmishing each other for the rights to Johnson. Especially since he’s a DP.


  3. Posted by dude on 2011/08/16 at 11:03 AM

    Can Chivas even make a move, or is Angel the anti-deal?


  4. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/08/16 at 11:07 AM

    Eddie was a constant scorer when be was back in the MLS and for the Nats at the same time period. He didn’t get a fair shake in Europe, like many Americans.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/16 at 11:24 AM

      On the contrary, Eddie got more than a fair shake in Europe.

      He was continually tried in the Fulham team because of either injury ahead of him or “just because.” His agent continually got him work at Aris, Cardiff and Preston North End where he failed to dazzle.

      Your statement that he didn’t get a fair shake is categorically inaccurate.


    • I wouldn’t say constant. Mr. Grown Ass Man had a tendency to be streaky and only “play” when he felt like it. After his move to Reading was nixed in early 2006 he came out and scored only twice in 19 games. Following that dismal season he bagged a healthy 15 in 24 appearances, though 12 of those game in the first 11 games. All told his MLS stats read:

      2001 – 10 apps – 2 goals
      2002 – 11 apps – 2 goals
      2003 – 22 apps – 3 goals
      2004 – 26 apps – 12 goals
      2005 – 15 apps – 5 goals
      2006 – 19 apps – 2 goals (a World Cup Summer for him)
      2007 – 24 apps – 15 goals
      Total of 127 apps – 41 goals

      The goal every 3 games isn’t a horrible stat, but it’s hardly what you’d call constant.

      As for the assertion that he didn’t get a fair shake in Europe…I’m not sure that’s true either, but only Eddie (and maybe Deuce) know whether that’s true or not. His sulking throughout the early portion of 2006 sounds like an attitude problem that may have carried over to his days at The Cottage, thus he didn’t get the run-out he probably could have. Of course, Eddie’s game is predicated on speed and he was brought in around the same time as Andy Johnson who plays a very similar speed game, so it could be down to poor player purchases/selection by the Fulham board and Management.


  5. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/08/16 at 11:16 AM

    I for one am glad Klinsmann isn’t poo-pooing the player pool in the MLS like Bradley did. I mean isn’t it logical that guys getting pt in the MLS will be sharper and in form versus a lot of the “Euro” guys who may not even see the bench.

    Bob chose to play Altidore, Onyewu, and the like when they hadn’t even played any games

    And maybe the DP/inflated contracts will eventually help raise the salary cap


    • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2011/08/16 at 2:19 PM

      I’m a big believer that if you don’t start (or at least play significant minutes) for your club team that you shouldn’t be in consideration for your national team. Sitting on expensive benches doesn’t make you a good player. Playing makes you a good player.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/08/16 at 4:05 PM

      I for one am glad Klinsmann isn’t poo-pooing the player pool in the MLS like Bradley did. I mean isn’t it logical that guys getting pt in the MLS will be sharper and in form versus a lot of the “Euro” guys who may not even see the bench. “

      Poo-pooing the player pool in the MLS? Interesting choice of words.

      Weren’t Bornstein, Ching, Conor Casey, Rico Clark, and Sacha Kjlestan, regular USMNT guys and card carrying members of “Bob’s Boys” club, in MLS for the majority of their USMNT careers under him?

      Didn’t he give Jozy, Agudelo and Shea their debuts, probably sooner than most guys would have?


  6. Posted by Tom on 2011/08/16 at 11:31 AM

    Never been a huge fan of this guy and, crazy as it sounds considering our place in the table, would be happy to see Frank & the Fire pass on him. Nazarit strikes me as a younger, more raw version of Eddie. Luckily he’s cheaper too.


  7. Posted by Kevin on 2011/08/16 at 11:42 AM

    If chivas passes on him and Houston picks him up I won’t be happy.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/16 at 12:00 PM

      I don’t think he’s wholly bad for Houston if only because NOBODY is dragging the defense back for them. Not even Carlos Costly.

      He’ll either give you some room to work (and Brad Davis needs more of that) or he’ll get behind the line a little.

      If the salary is right, it’s not a bad gamble….

      BUT, it’s all in the dollars.

      Feilhaber got $350K. I think Eddie is worth no more than 200K right now.


      • I don’t think it would hurt the Dynamo to have a burner at striker, that’s actually the one thing supporters have been clamoring for other than an attacking mid (which we may or may not have in the incoming Camargo). At the right price I think he’s worth a roll of the dice.


        • Posted by Kevin on 2011/08/16 at 7:07 PM

          Camargo causes a problem because he’s a DM and we’ve gotten 7 out of 9 points since Moffat’s insertion into the starting lineup. We have also seen Cameron take more freedom in the attack. Now more than ever I think Palmer was responsible for the poor center midfield.

          However I’ve thought this over a little and unless Canetti/Kinnear have someone else in mind up top this would allow us to get rid of Weaver. But EJ, Ching, Costly and Bruin is a very potent crop of strikers. The biggest problem I have with this is that EJ has always come off a bit arrogant to me and that won’t fly under Kinnear.


  8. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/08/16 at 12:06 PM

    Look just because he was constantly loaned out, doesn’t mean anything, you should know that. I consider it more of an economical thing for Fulham to do. We see this type of thing happen with American players all the time.

    How is he supposed to impress if he isn’t even on the field, DUH

    I consider a “fair shake” to actually getting games in.

    You have to admit there is an obvious anit-American mentality for European teams to give these players any playing time.

    Look at Aston-Villa and Michael Bradley. They had so many nice things to say about him and then ended up hardly using him.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/08/16 at 1:55 PM

      Actually players who don’t make the first team, play for the reserves and they have their own weekly schedule. This is the place and opportunity to show your managers and coaches what you can do. If you’re not in the first team on a regular basis then you most certainly are playing consistently for the reserves, so you’re getting a lot of playing time. If you cannot impress against a weakened side or players, why should you get a chance in a situation that actually counts? As Matt says it would be stupid to alienate someone due to where they come from. Plain and simple, if the manager thinks they are not good enough, they are not going to risk their job putting in a player who might get them fired.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/17 at 5:03 AM

      The only way to earn what you consider a “fair shake” is to show that you deserve it either on loan or in reserve matches. Eddie never showed that he deserved it while on loan. Plenty of players get loaned out and come back after having successful spells or get dumped from clubs after unsuccessful spells on loan. Just look at a lot of the players that get dumped after coming up through youth academies without ever getting first team minutes. The lower English leagues are littered with guys who according to you never got a “fair shake”.

      You can’t believe anything managers say regarding players because they are rarely going to come out and say they think a player can’t hack it in the premier league. A lot of the reports from the media and fans in Birmingham was that MB90 just wasn’t handling the speed of the game in England. That he was too slow getting the ball off his foot to make a pass and a step slow getting into position. That’s a lot of the criticism he gets from US fans as well.


  9. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/16 at 12:24 PM

    On Michael Bradley, frankly I’m not sure what that. What I “think” it was a trail for a player if Nigel Reo Coker left after the season under their old manager Gerard Houllier.

    Odd that the new man didn’t like him. Alex McLeish was the same manager who was trying to procure him in 2007.


    I don’t think there is any anti-American bias overseas. It would be pointless and self-defeating. You purchase any player because they can help you.
    AND an American in your team might get you more fans and perhaps more merch sales in the 300M strong US.

    As for Eddie Johnson–he got more run than he even warranted at Fulham–countless times Andy Johnson, Bobby Zamora or some other forward was injured and Johnson–despite not going on any tear in the reserves–didn’t take advantage of an opportunity that he did not earn.

    If you get send to Cardiff and Preston North End and you don’t thrill, what does that say about your shot in the Prem.

    Grant Wahl is right Aris liked him more than Freddy Adu back in 2010 I believe–but not as a feature player.

    The Greek league is not one of the strongest leagues in Europe either.

    Eddie–more than some other players (Ante Razov, Taylor Twellman, Clint Mathis)–got his shot overseas in my opinion


    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/16 at 12:36 PM

      Off of the last point, you want to know why that was? One of those guys is a freak athlete; the other three are not. Goes to show you Americans aren’t the only ones who take gambles on freak athletes and hope they figure it out.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/08/16 at 12:37 PM

        Excellent point. The need for speed. The parallel coming obviously in two years: Robbie Findley.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/08/17 at 4:59 AM

      I’m not surprised that McLeish passed on MB90 now. He’s not the same player he was in 2007 and he’s also been fairly or unfairly getting a bit of a label as tough to deal with between his run ins with the media regarding their comments about Bob and his time at Gladbach last season.

      I do think there is a bias against Americans overseas but it’s slowly breaking down. I think Americans do need to work that extra bit harder to get into a squad just look at Dempsey for example. He had to work for his spot practically every season with the managerial changes at Fulham up until this season.


  10. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/08/16 at 12:26 PM

    I think fast Eddie (who now dodges careening autos) got a fair shake but suffers from bad luck and probably poor confidence, He only had a recent decent spell at Aris but reprots were that he did not want to sign with them. He has few near misses and posts with Fulham/Prston that maybe would’ve restored his esteem in his team and his own eyes but alas it was not meant to be. I love a good story of redemption so maybe he can resurrect his career in the MLS, he does have the talent. Time will tell whether he’s Scott “Chachi” Baio or Elvis at Vegas.


  11. We’ll take him in Seattle. Sigi and the fellas were trying to get some deals done in the transfer window and have swung and missed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the rave yellow and shock green soon…


  12. Posted by Josh on 2011/08/16 at 2:26 PM

    Eddie had plenty of chances in Europe, but he doesn’t play hard and his skills are weak. He’s fast, but with a bad first touch and an inaccurate shot. He won’t pressure from the front, he won’t track back, and he’s lazy so he’s constantly getting caught offside. He’s shown he cant play for average English Championship teams, and I don’t think he’ll be helpful to a good MLS team.


  13. Posted by CJ on 2011/08/16 at 5:23 PM

    Matt- You mention the US as being a market of ~300 million, is there a stat for the actual fanbase of soccer in the US? I mean football, baseball, basketball, hockey and racing probably absorb a large number of the sports fans in the US and sports fans make up only a fraction of 300m. Even further, only a portion of the total of sports fans is in the prime advertising market, whatever that would be, right?

    So, I agree European teams want american money and that has some influence but I don’t think using the populace large of the US is the right statistic to reference. Your stat has me wondering what the real US soccer fanbase size is that a foreign team would actually be vying for in accruing an american player.


  14. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/08/16 at 5:31 PM

    So should I watch Seattle or LA tonight? I’ll probably just end up going with whichever I can find a better stream for, but any opinions on which will likely be a better match?


    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/16 at 7:38 PM

      Looking like Seattle–LA is being their typical efficient self, while Seattle is down 1-0 to Communicaciones. They really are wonderfully consistent in their big game chokery. To think some people wanted Sigi Schmid to coach the national team…


      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/08/16 at 8:07 PM

        Yeah, I started on LA since CONCACAF has their stream up, but switched over after LA scored and I saw Seattle was down. Definitely seams like a more entertaining game.


      • Posted by Dougs on 2011/08/19 at 6:36 AM

        This comment looks a bit premature in light of the final result.


  15. Posted by Sean on 2011/08/16 at 5:54 PM

    He had more than his fair chance. If you are a professional, you should want to challenge yourselft. His skillset was limited to speed, and that is not enough to cut it in the big leagues. He’ll be allright in MLS, and that will be where the buck stops.


  16. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/16 at 6:29 PM

    I am not the biggest MLS follower so I was wondering if someone could help me out here….

    I don’t even see EJ as a decent signing. He costs you an allocation spot (the value seems very speculative) and he likely will cost a significant penny. Based on what I saw at Fulham I am not sure he is a star in the MLS so he isn’t a safe signing.

    Going beyond the on the field concerns he seems like someone that doesn’t move the needle interest wise. I won’t be checking FSC to see when his team is playing (unless he ends up on a team I already watch). He doesn’t have that draw (I’ll watch Freddy to see how he is doing) and to call his a USMNT player seems generous.

    Wouldn’t they be much better off to take the $200,000 or whatever they are paying EJ and pour that into trying to keep some of they bright younger players? Some of the young guys like Agudelo, Hamid, etc are making only $55,000. I feel like a couple weeks ago we talked about MLS bargains. Would rather keep a young exciting guy for another year rather than use the money to bring back EJ.


  17. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/08/17 at 7:45 AM

    Bernie makes fantastic points above concerning MLS and its approach to player selection. We’re at a point where Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane have chosen to play here. two guys with miles on their tires but still much to contribute from a goals, credibility and marketing standpoint. To pay DP $’s for a guy who brings no interest and generally shows little interest or upside is “old MLS” and bad for business. He believed his own hype way too early and has tried to coast his way thru on his speed. I wouldn’t exactly term him as athletic as he doesn’t do much beyond straight forward running. No touch, little in the air for a big man…no thanks!


  18. Posted by Joe on 2011/08/18 at 10:31 PM

    Well I guess it is a mute point since he isn’t signing the contract with the MLS


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/08/19 at 6:28 AM

      Sounds like MLS stood their ground on $’s and Eddie’s reality was on a different flight from Eddie’s brain. Next stop….Mexico?


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