Best Sounder

Eddie Johnson

Local soccer fans were stunned in February when the Sounders unexpectedly parted with two of their most promising young players, Michael Fucito and Lamar Neagle. But when you get the opportunity to add a talent like Eddie Johnson to your roster, you don't pass it up. Entering his prime at 28, Johnson is in his 12th year as a professional and arrived here with something to prove after foundering with clubs in England, Wales, and Greece and losing his place on the U.S. National Team. When the Sounders pried him loose from expansion Montreal, they hoped to acquire the Johnson who had been one of the most dangerous strikers in MLS, scoring 15 goals for Kansas City five years ago before embarking on his European odyssey. It took a while—he missed several weeks with a hamstring injury and didn't score until the end of April—but that Eddie Johnson has arrived: With a team-leading nine goals, one-third of Seattle's total, he's been the most reliable offensive force on a team that hasn't consistently put the ball in the back of the net. With a lightning-quick first step, strength and tenacity in the box, and uncommon ability in the air, Johnson offers a scoring dimension the Sounders didn't possess in their first three years. And he's a bargain to boot, making just $100,000 this year. MICHAEL MAHONEY soundersfc.com

 
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