Sounders send Johnson to D.C. United

Seattle Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson (7) Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara (21)

Photo by Joshue Weisberg/


D.C. United are coming off a season in which they scored the second fewest goals in MLS history, but help is on the way in the form of a U.S. Men’s National Team forward with a proven track record for scoring in the league.

United announced on Tuesday afternoon that they sent allocation money to the Seattle Sounders in exchange for forward Eddie Johnson. Johnson has been one of the top scorers in MLS since returning to the league in 2012, netting 23 goals in 49 regular season matches for a Seattle team that successfully reached the postseasons in each of the last two years.

“Eddie is coming off a terrific year with Seattle and the U.S. National Team, and we are very pleased to have acquired him,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper in a released statement. “He is one of the most dangerous attacking players in MLS, and we believe he will be an important contributor to our team.”

The 29-year-old Johnson enjoyed a career revival in Seattle during the past two seasons, but grew unhappy over his contract situation during the second half of the 2013 campaign (even uttering the words “Pay me” after a goal celebration vs. Columbus) and eventually burned so many bridges that a return became impossible.

Late last week the Sounders traded for the rights to forward Kenny Cooper, all but confirming that Johnson was no longer a part of the club’s plans regardless of how well he had performed.

“Eddie was a valuable part of our team the last two seasons,” said Sounders owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer in an officialy statement from the club. “Eddie is a tremendous player who gave us some wonderful moments. This was an opportunity for us to receive allocation money that can strengthen our club in many areas. We wish him the best in D.C.”

Johnson, who has been a regular in Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. rosters since October 2012, will now play for his fourth MLS team since beginning his career in the league in 2001. Aside from the Sounders, he also played for FC Dallas and the then-Kansas City Wizards before transferring to Premiership club Fulham in what was a largely unsuccessful move for him.

United have now added some real firepower to their attack after a dismal regular season campaign that saw them score just 22 goals and finish with the worst overall record at 3-24-7. Johnson is also familiar with head coach Ben Olsen, as the two were U.S. teammates at the 2006 World Cup.

“I’m excited with this move to the most storied franchise in MLS, and I look forward to getting started with my new D.C. United teammates,” said Johnson in United’s statement.

United host the Sounders in their lone regular season bout in 2014 on June 28, but Johnson could be away on World Cup duty at that time.


What do you think of the Sounders dealing Johnson to United in exchange for allocation money? Do you see him tearing it up under Olsen? Questioning why the Sounders did not get more in return?

Share your thoughts below.

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95 Responses to Sounders send Johnson to D.C. United

  1. Travis says:

    Seattle only got allocation money in return for him? Wow that is not a good deal for Seattle, he was always destined to leave but I thought they would get more in return. Good move for DC

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Not sure how you can say that when they don’t tell you how much. Maybe it the max ( 650k to the SS ) for 10 years. Not a good deal now ?

      • Travis says:

        This is true but I can’t help but wonder why we didn’t get some sort of pick out of this as well. Trades in the MLS are frustrating because like you said you never know how much allocation money is being moved. On a sidenote im not sure how DC was able to move allocation money, theyve picked up a number of big salaries this summer such as Franklin and EJ

        • Kosh says:

          You can do that when you have a whole lotta cap space. Did you see who we shipped out? That’s how much of our money was tied into…let’s just say players that weren’t cutting it.

          • Travis says:

            i havent been able to keep up on all the transactions due to how busy its been. would really like to see DC improve again

          • SonicDeathMonkey says:

            Not to mention they could of used their “You suck” allocation money they got from the league for being so terrible.

            • Bryan says:

              That ‘you suck’ money you mentioned, combined with the money DCU got from winning the Open Cup this year provide plenty of wiggle room for improvement.

      • Big Red says:

        Johnson basically is the leading goal scorer on the national team in the last year and a half. Even though it’s allocation money and that is a very valuable commodity, I’m pretty sure the Sounders got hosed a little bit. Seems pretty consistent with their recent history. They also got nothing for Zakuani who was still dangerous when healthy this year. They should have signed him and then traded him. Former #1 picks who are young should get something decent in return and leading goal scorers on your national team should get you something in return too. All they got was allocation money for both.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Allocation money is often overrated because its real value is the subsequent player it gets spent on. If Houston trades DeRo and receives Julius James plus allocation, then spends the allocation on Luis Angel Landin, the cap benefits were wasted and you’ve traded a good player for wasted space.

        So, yes, it matters how much the allocation is — which we usually don’t know — but also whom it is spent on. It is low public accountability because it’s not player for player.

        That being said, I think an allocation is a step up from a draft pick, which is even more of a lottery guess. You can sign a veteran with a demonstrated career.

        I’d still prefer a player but DC has so few quality parts I’m sure they wanted the core untouched.

    • Horace Mann says:

      Allocation money is important in a salary-capped league. We’ll never know how much the Sounders got, exactly, but it should give the Sounders some roster flexibility and the ability to add some quality beyond the moves they have made already.

    • Rex says:

      Even only 100k of allocation is huge, because you also lose his EJs salary. If he is due 200k and you get 100k allocation, then that is 300k of cap space. In this league, that is HUGE.

    • JoeW says:

      Actually, it’s potentially a good deal for both teams.
      1. DCU needs goal scorers and attacking threats. They are on a budget. And their foreign signings have been terrible the past couple of years. So EJ is a great fit. And the other teams in the running (Philly, LAG, and Chivas at one point) really couldn’t afford to add another DP (or had other players they preferred to spend DP money on). But for DCU, EJ is likely to be a cheap DP (i.e.: he’s not going to run them $1.5 million or even $900k–he’s probably going to be just over the DP mark with a lot of incentives in his contract).
      2. EJ wasn’t going to stay with Seattle. Seattle couldn’t afford to pay him more, too many bridges burned and once Cooper was added than EJ’s departure was certain. And we can talk about how EJ didn’t do squat overseas…but the reality is he’s under 30, fast, a NT regular and he scores goals. That is ALWAYS attractive…there are foreign club who took flyers on Robbie Findley and Cobi Jones. You can’t tell me that a club in the Netherlands or Norway wouldn’t have offered him more than $175k.

      Basically, Seattle got something (allocation money–which is what they wanted) for nothing (a player that they were never going to get value for). And Seattle didn’t want draft picks, they wanted allocation $ in order to purchase players or pay down cap hits. So from both team’s perspective, this is a great deal.

      • bryan says:

        WaPo reporting that EJ will get $370,000, which, as you stated, would make him a low-end DP.

        • Ian says:

          Doubt he’s a DP. The DP cap hit is $368,750. He’s probably earning $368,749.
          link to

          • bryan says:

            We’re committed to making Eddie a designated player; it will be a process,” Kasper said, without specifying a timetable. “Eddie wants to be rewarded for his overall production in the past two years. We’re going to do our best to make it happen.”

            that is the quote from the WaPo and the reason the $370,000 number is floating around. of course, it does leave room to think he’ll have incentive compensation to bring him to that level as opposed to a base salary.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I’m going to be interested if DC has enough to put around EJ to make it work. EJ is a poacher not a creator and he’s generally done well on teams themselves already doing well.

    • Nico C. says:

      I agree. I was really thinking they were going for the 1st round draft pick.

      • JoeW says:

        Fans may want the pick. But DCU didn’t want to give it up. And Seattle wasn’t that interested in it. The fans want Seattle to produce. Getting the top rookie (say it’s Mullins) will have no impact on the team–do you really think he’s going to get serious playing time ahead of Dempsey, Cooper and Martins? Plus, this whole issue started (having to move players like EJ, Gspurning) is b/c of the inability to pay them more. Seattle’s first, second, and third priority is allocation money. They can use it to buy players. They can use it to buy down cap hits. DCU got what they wanted. Seattle got what they wanted. EJ got what he wanted.

        • TomG says:

          There are a ton of good defenders in this draft, and yes, many of them would be able contribute right away to Seattle, whose defense was pretty bad last season.

  2. Madden's Chin says:

    Haha, wow. That is all.

  3. rellimjs says:

    Its good for Johnson that he’ll now be playing on grass.

  4. Petaluman says:

    So I wonder if EJ will get his raise and if so, how much it will be.

  5. Jacknut says:

    You know what a young team coming off a rough season doesn’t need: A head case. Oh well..

  6. Eddie Johnson says:

    You’re all just jealous.

  7. ke says:

    what a FLOP,

    you should be in Europe or Mexico scoring goals for the flory of AMERICA

    • Travis says:

      he failed in both of those places already

    • scott47a says:

      the flory of America?

    • Hopper says:

      Scoring 14 goals in a season hardly describes a flop.

      Disrespecting the one team that took a chance on you and revitalized your career … that’s not a flop, either. Just stupid.

      Grow up, EJ. Have fun playing in front of all those empty seats at RFK.

  8. Tiny says:

    GAM in the capital

  9. NATO says:

    how was EJ from 04-06? how well did he perform in the world cup

    i started following him post 07 Gold cup

  10. Kosh says:

    Welcome to the team EJ. You are now one of us. Play for the shirt, leave it all out on the field and we will love you. We’ve got your back.

    We have a LOT of work to do so lets go to work and get back to the right places on the table where we belong and maybe get that 5th ring in a year or so.


    • Eddie Johnson says:

      I play for no man. I play for me. Also, I don’t speak Spanish and I have no idea what you said.

    • yankiboy says:

      I’m with you Kosh–maybe a new chapter, better compensation and some personal growth will result in a more mature and less angry EJ.

      If it doesn’t work out then DC will cut him loose. Not like the owners are spending a fortune on several DP’s.

      I’m going to try and keep a positive vibe.

      As a United supporter and much more importantly as a US supporter–I really want this to work.

  11. Smith says:

    DC just picked up the most overrated player in the league. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Mason says:

      Did you see DCU last season? “Disaster” would be an improvement.

    • Joamiq says:

      This is probably right. GAM is getting paid and gets to feel like the big man on campus. Now his performance will continue to trend down, as it has over the past 6 months or so, and as it always does when he gets comfortable.

    • JoeW says:

      Nah. I can’t say what fans believe. But if you check out Doyle’s column at MLSSoccer, he uses some metrics that are insightful. DCU has been one of the worst teams in the air (in terms of balls won, shots on goal, scores) yet a team that crosses the ball a lot. EJ is one of the most effective aerial threats in MLS. He plays a decent target forward role (which is really what Conor Doyle is as well). It’s correct that lots of people see EJ as this “withdrawn” forward who plays off a target man in part b/c of his speed and also b/c he’s not some big burly type like Conor Casey. But the reality is that EJ is a guy who scores on headers and then tip-ins/garbage, in-the-box finishes. And that’s a perfect fit for DCU and what the team needs.

  12. Lost in Space says:

    So far I’ve actually liked the moves that DC have made. They’ve stengthened the defense with the Boswell & Franklin additions while adding a strong forward who will hopefully give them the goals they needed. Next on the wish list will be wing midfield depth…..
    Overall the additions have filled the needs of the team without having to give up the young players that they’re trying to build around…Hamid, White, Kitchen, DeLeon, Pontius, etc…
    This upcoming year should be interesting.

    • scott47a says:

      agree with this


      It’s a step up. And you have to wonder if more is coming.
      I’m a Sounders fan but always like to see teams getting better in this league.

      • bryan says:

        Arnaud will not start over Silva. other than that, i think you are right.

      • Rich D says:

        You forgot Luis Silva, he’s our starting CAM or striker in the hole.

        • bryan says:

          exactly. he’ll be in that spot in a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1. i could see Jeffery given a shot to start next to Kitchen at the expense of Doyle and the 4-4-2.

        • Beto says:

          And Mullins in the first round too..?

          Not a bad lineup.

      • DCLee says:

        Classy comment scott47a

      • g-dub says:

        Pontius and DeLeon service to the GAM be looking pretty dangerous.

      • Northzax says:

        Not bad, but White isn’t a left back. That’s probably still Korb, depending on future moves. I see more like:


        EJ has the speed to keep defenses honest, something dc’s been missing, Silva and Jeffrey both have room to roam with kitchen cleaning up behind them. That’s a pretty decent MLS starting 11.

    • Travis says:

      I just hope EJ doesn’t became a disaster on a young team and cause a ton of unrest

    • bryan says:

      agreed, although i still want to know how much we are spending on Arnaud. it’ll be interesting to see if DC try to make a run for someone like Gooch since they are top of the allocation order. i know Jones was being seriously considered for a move to MLS, and DCU would have the first choice on him, but i think after the WC draw Jones will stay in Europe.

      • Madaoua05 says:

        Gooch would be fantastic for DCU: hometown kid and light years better than our current stock of central defenders. But would he want to come back to the scene of the beginning of his injury woes? RFK might not be too enticing.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think they’ve improved the talent level of the team but none of the gaggle of EJ, Franklin, or Boswell is a flawless star. One up and down international and two barely-capped.

  13. TomG says:

    Surprised they couldn’t get the top pick PLUS a big allocation..

    • JoeW says:

      Seattle didn’t WANT the top pick. The top pick is probably not a Gen-A player. Which means that someone like Mullins is likely going to cost the team that drafts him $100-120k, maybe more. Seattle wants allocation money. The top pick isn’t going to play for Seattle. But another DP could. Or another veteran. And those two options happen only if Seattle can buy down the cap hit–which requires allocation money–which is what Seattle got.

  14. RBNY says:

    Can’t wait for this implosion.

    • RBNJ says:

      ME TOO!

    • EdTheRed says:

      Fortunately, DC enters 2014 pre-imploded. I mean, if they can’t do better than 3 wins in 34 games, then the coaching staff and front office deserve whatever headaches EJ gives them. When your leading scorer is “Own Goal” (with 4 goals), you can risk a little locker room dischord in exchange for a guy who at least knows that you’re supposed to put the ball in the *other* guy’s net.

    • John says:

      It’s not like he refused to play until he was traded. That’s a different player currently in a Sounders shirt.

    • BrianK says:

      Agreed,…the danger is that,…now that he has been paid he will dog it! That is his MO. He plays to get the big K,…and then when he has it, he mails it in.

      • Rich D says:

        Yep with a World Cup roster spot on the line I’m sure he’ll dog it.

      • JoeW says:

        Not really. The reality is that once EJ got past the difficult early years (and transitioned into the difficult starting years), he’s always been productive in MLS. Even after he got pay raises. He’s simply been a major bust overseas. Heck–Taylor Twellman was a major bust with the NT…but any team in MLS would have taken Twellman in a heartbeat when he was healthy and in his prime.

        You’ll never hear me argue that EJ is a class individual, or mature and magnanimous, or a team leader. But remember, effectively the roster spot he just replaced is….Carlos Ruiz. As hard to believe as that is, EJ probably just improved the locker room climate, work ethic, and team attitude.

  15. John says:

    Seattle need to sort out there midfield soon. If they plan on playing Dempsey on top of a diamond with Martins and Cooper at forward it’s going to be a long season.

  16. frank from santiago says:

    most overrated player in the league,
    dude coudn’t hack it in europe then comes crawling back to mls, seattle are cool enough to throw him a bone, he scores a few goals(wins nothing worth a damn) acts like a little b*tch and thinks he’s worth what premier league players earn, HA. good luck dc, hope you have the cure for this cancer.

  17. dusty says:

    There is something really wrong with this guy. He can’t stay anywhere long and I think signing him will prove to be more of the same and a big mistake for DC

  18. Pingunça says:

    It’s our way of giving back to the league

  19. Commenter says:

    D.C. is going to have to make some solid moves when the transfer window opens if they want to make the playoffs next season. E.J. can be a hit or miss for United, if they can get add some more flavor in midfield, and solidify the defense (Franklin was a good addition) D.C. will be a stronger team.

  20. NaranjaFanatic says:

    I could see him producing and doing fine for DCU as long as they don’t shat on his production by picking up a guy who doesn’t produce but makes 300 times his salary.

  21. bizzy says:

    This is a big mistake by both parties. With Eddie Johnson firing on all cylinders and conditioning himself to make an impact in the world cup he is traded. Wow…..The chemistry in Seattle was really good, Sounders should have coughed up more money because the man was worth it (and this from a DC UNITED FAN). The question here is:
    Does DC have the right midfield to provide service to Eddie Johnson to continue being effective?
    Is united the team to fine tune one of our world cup strikers (especially with us being in the “group of death”)?
    Does DC have the coaching staff necessary to help Johnson reach that next level (because he sure looked like it in Seattle)?
    Mixed feeling on this trade but lets see……Hmmmm since Freddy Adu talked Johnson into coming back to the game maybe Eddie can convince Adu to join DC United and get his career on track. Don’t think I’ll ever miss a united game if that happens…..I guess everyone is entitled to their dreams hahahaha

    • P says:

      I’m concerned that Seattle thinks anything but a manager change is the fundamental issue. They have the players and they certainly have the atmosphere, but they basically played pick up soccer, zero tactical plan/execution, and flamed out when things got tight down the stretch. Give it to Dempsey and expect him to create something out of nothing is not tactics. Good way to get the crap kicked out of your best player and not produce anything in the attack.

  22. Zack says:

    Hey DC! Prepare for gratuitous step overs.

  23. byob el paso tx says:

    is EJ going to be the face if their new stadium, if they ever.get one :-)
    why doesnt this new owner use that cash and do what tfc, Seattle, galaxy, red bull, Montreal have done. DC deserves a winning team and 2014 is the year to win back their fanbase.
    as for the stadium, will miami and nycfc get their stadium first.

    • dude says:

      The attendance numbers dropped a bit (there was no way they wouldn’t), but they’re never going to lose the fan base. We are die—hard. The only thing this could help with, if and when it works out and makes us better, is some hope and trust in the FO, which fans were ready to tear apart with their bare hands by the middle of last season.

      There are also some positive buzzings about the stadium land swap deal, but as always, got to wait and see. If the land swap happens, the stadium is very much within reach.

      • bryan says:

        and there is no doubt in my mind that if we get the stadium, that place will be packed and will be an intense atmosphere for every game.

  24. AC says:

    He and Pontius could create a dangerous combination or Johnson could become another headcase and clash with Olsen.

  25. DC Josh says:

    Still need a creative midfielder or false #9. Where is it going to come from? Hopefully not Central or South America, where recent transactions have left DCU with empty pockets scratching their heads.

    • Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

      Bring back ADU! He has not been the same since he left HOME! DCU is where he should be and where he should have stayed.

    • bryan says:

      from what i’ve read, Silva is the man for that job. certainly need another guy though.