Seattle Sounders FC signing Adam Johansson fills the hole at right back left open from the loss of James Riley, but Technical Director Chris Henderson sees him as adding more to the role rather than a like-for-like swap;
I think losing James Riley, a seasoned veteran in our league, it's tough to lose James. But I think Adam with his international experience can push that position even further with the amount of touches our outside backs get. I feel very confident with Adam helping start the attack. He can defend; he's a good all-around player I think that's an improvement there.
Today's conference call with Henderson and Johannson also gave us insight into what the Swede can bring to the Sounders. Describing his own play Johannson said;
... I'm a player that tries to be quite offensive, even though I'm a defensive player. I want to be in the offensive play. I'm a quite good runner. I have quite good ... endurance. My crosses are quite good, maybe that's something that I can influence the team with.
That's exactly what we saw he's a player that's tactically very smart, he's versatile. He's a leader in the back. He has a good engine and crosses very well. His timing of overlaps, timing of getting deep crosses in the box is good. He's a solid player who tackles well and competes well every time he plays.
Seattle's new right back also talks about playing for Sweden, the travel challenges of MLS, the league's relative quality and what he likes about the city.
With some experience on the left side for the Swedish team, he feels his best ability would be displayed as a right sided defender. His goal is to prove that he is the best option for the team there so the national team coach can call him up to the squad despite any travel and time zone concerns. The coach made it clear that quality and not travel will be the key for the next call.
In discussions with Erik Friberg and Hans Backe the peak aged defender says that they portrayed the league as of a higher quality than even knowledgeable fans in Sweden regard it. Backe specifically compares it to Holland (currently 9th in Europe). Friberg brought up travel as the only negative in playing for Seattle. January will be the start of Johansson's travel exploits. He starts the month in Sweden training with IFK Goteborg, his old club, then to Qatar for national team training and on February first joins Seattle on their Casa Grande, Arizona training stint.
Johansson looks forward to the early season contests in the CONCACAF Champions League noting that they are good, high quality games that should help prepare him for national team play. Whether prompted by reporters questions or from his own interest in resuming regular national team experience much of the conversation revolved around the challenges in playing for a Western American team and competing in Europe.
Similar to keeper signing Michael Gspurning, Johansson talked about the friendliness of the people here in Seattle;
In a way it is similar to Goteborg. They have the same type of climate and I'm used to that. I think the city was really nice and the people were really friendly. I had a great stay there. I think I'm going to have a good time.
A player driven to reawaken a national career that respects the league and team he is joining and not intimidated in any way by an artificial surface "we have some teams in the Allsvenskan that are playing on artificial grass so I'm used to that" has potential to be a very good singing indeed.