This prediction did not have much debate, nearly every one picked Eddie Johnson.
Every year we try to predict the Annual Awards. Every season we get some right, and some way wrong. In this case people have little doubt. The staff at Sounder at Heart and the rival blogs picked Eddie Johnson and by a wide margin. Only two other players received votes (this was prior to the Martins rumor getting strengthened. Mario Martinez got two votes, Steve Zakuani one and the GAM? Nine.
Two of those voted him as the league MVP as well.
This could obviously change dramatically if the Sounders were to add a DP between now and the close of the transfer window, but as it stands now the offense is going to go through him. Johnson won't have the most touches, but he'll be the most common target and will get the most opportunities. If he even comes close to converting at the rate he did last year, he'll push 20 goals as he promises to get even more chances.
He starts from a baseline of being the 6th leading goalscorer in MLS last season. For one, the field got weaker. Wondo is unlikely to do anything like what he did last year, Henry is a year older, Espinoza is gone, Kamara is gone, Donovan is out for an undetermined amount of time, etc. For two, he now has a whole year under the Sounders' system and should be expected to improve. And for three, he should be given space by the addition of attacking players around him, specifically a returned Steve Zakuani and Mario Martinez (note that I'm assuming there that he gets a DP forward partner for at least half the year).
A strong case could be made. The overwhelming support is there. It is a bit surprising that Rosales is not one of the players that got support. And the only other player to ever score 10 goals in a pro season only got one vote (me). Now there are questions about Zakuani's health, but I think he's primed to do what he does. There will be long stretches that you forget about him. So will the opposing defense, and then with a little burst of speed, a little pass to hisself and a well placed shot he will score.
Who will be the Sounders Offensive Player of the Year?
Eddie Johnson (145 votes)
Mario Martinez (51 votes)
Steve Zakuani (10 votes)
Mauro Rosales (14 votes)
Other (25 votes)
245 total votes