In swap with Montreal, the Sounders acquire an EPL-level striker with international experience.
Seattle Sounders FC Friday traded forward Mike Fucito and midfielder Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact for U.S. international forward Eddie Johnson, who had just been selected by the Impact with the No. 1 pick in Major League Soccer’s allocation process.
Johnson, 27, signed with MLS earlier this week after spending much of the past five seasons with Fulham of the English Premier League.
“Eddie is a high-quality striker who is a very good finisher,” said Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson, who coached Johnson at Kansas City. “We are very excited to have him join Sounders FC in our quest for another successful season.”
A member of the U.S. National Team since scoring in his debut in October 2004, Johnson has made 41 appearances with 12 goals for the senior club. He scored eight goals in nine FIFA World Cup qualifying appearances, and is the only U.S. player to score a hat trick coming off the bench (Oct. 13, 2004).
Johnson became the first player in national team history to score in each of his first four appearances, three of which were 2006 World Cup qualifying matches. He is also one of the most prolific scorers in U.S. Youth National Team history, tallying 37 career goals in 51 international games with the U-17s, U-20s and U-23s.
On the loss of Fucito and Neagle, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said, “It’s always difficult to part ways with two quality individuals who have contributed greatly to the success of our first three years. We saw this as a unique opportunity to bring a player in with World Cup and international experience who can help us in our quest to win the MLS Cup.”
A Daytona Beach, FL. native, Johnson began his pro career in MLS, playing four seasons for FC Dallas before joining Kansas City for two seasons. He scored 41 goals with 13 assists in 127 MLS appearances.
The six-foot forward then spent four years with Fulham, signing with the EPL side in 2007. Johnson was loaned to English League Championship Cardiff City in 2008-09, when he appeared in 30 games and scored two goals.
In 2009, Johnson was loaned to Aris of the Greek Super League and appeared in 12 matches with one goal. Johnson’s stint in Europe ended with his loan to Preston North End, for which he scored one goal in 16 appearances.
Johnson will join the Sounders Saturday in Florida.
Seattle selected the 25-year-old Fucito in the fourth round (46th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. In his three seasons with the Sounders, he scored three goals with two assists in 23 appearances. Fucito added five goals with one assist in the 2010 and 2011 CONCACAF Champions League and also scored two goals in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
A Federal Way native, Neagle, 24, joined the Sounders FC on March 2, 2011. In 23 MLS appearances last season, he scored five goals with two assists, and added a goal in the playoffs.
Neagle was named MLS Player of the Week in August for a hat trick against the Columbus Crew.
The Sounders host Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals March 7, and open MLS play March 17 against Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle Sounders FC Off-season News/Transactions