Thursday, August 18, 2011

Commentary: Eddie Johnson

Eddie Johnson and MLS caused a ruckus this week with the announcement of his signing. That announcement was followed by a second in which Major League Soccer states Johnson backed out of a his verbal agreement.

The apparent hang up was that Johnson wanted more money. Steven Goff of the Washington Post reported that the two sides agreed to a salary in which he would make $175,00 (prorated) this year, $225,000 in 2012 and then $275,000 in 2013. Apparently one unidentified team which is rumored (but by no means confirmed) to be Seattle, was willing to pay this.

Unfortunately Johnson balked at the deal and demanded a larger base salary. The story gets conflicting here as MLS executive vice president Todd Durbin stated that an agreement had been reached but no formal documents signed. Johnson’s agent had said via twitter that no agreement had been reached. Steven Goff accounted the events here.

My hang up is this: where does Eddie Johnson get off demanding more money? In the past 3.5 years, Johnson has scored eight competitive goals…eight. These goals did not come with Fulham; rather with Cardiff City, Aris and Preston North End. Eight goals in over fifty appearances.  Those numbers do not impress…

Long gone are the days where Johnson performed for the U.S. National Team. Why a forward with only a cluster of games would warrant more money is beyond me. Major League Soccer could have been the last bastion for Johnson to redeem himself and the form he once had.

Consider that Freddy Adu, the teenage phenom turned bust, has completely turned himself around and is admirably building a future. Adu has shown maturity, class and guile in the last few weeks in his return. Johnson could have done the same, however now, regardless of circumstances EJ’s lost his clout.

People know he’s an unwanted commodity who rates himself too highly. Bargaining chips have been lost and now he’s in a worse position than he was before. He could still make his return to MLS, but that return will be tarnished regardless.

All that remains to be seen is where EJ will end up. Obscure team in Eastern Europe? 3rd division England? NASL? There’s a story there regardless.