Eddie Johnson wants more money. There is no way to doubt that. His Twitter feed and now his goal celebration are clear evidence. While there is a portion of the fanbase that is bothered by the way he's presented himself in regards to this desire that has not spilled over into the players, coaching staff or front office at this point. In fact, Hanauer & Co. are working to get EJ's desire fulfilled.
"I've said it before, Eddie is underpaid at this point and we'll address that behind closed doors," Hanauer told the media after the Labor Day practice session. "For me, as long as those sorts of things aren't getting in the way of us winning a championship, I can really care less. When it becomes a distraction to the team, then it's an issue with me. For now, we picked up a great win, Eddie was a huge part of it, he was great with his teammates, so for me it's not an issue."
Sigi also put to rest the idea that Johnson's behavior when getting subbed off was an issue for the coach.
"Even when I subbed him out, he was fully committed to the team. He was happy as anyone when we won, he was as animated and fully involved in the game. That's what I'm looking for in a player," Schmid said. "I need a player who's committed to the team, who's committed to winning games, which he is. We're going to try to see what we can do and hopefully something with get worked out and we can help that situation."
Johnson's current contract was worked with MLS without direct involvement of the Sounders as he was an allocated player with an unknown destination at the time. Now, with the team involved and the striker in middle of a career revival that sees him as a regular on the National Team and a near certain second straight 10+ goal year the contract will be structured to reflect that.
That contract will come in the future though, likely not right now. Adrian and Eddie have a "good relationship" according to Hanauer. He's informed the player of the cap issues and that the contract may not come on Johnson's preferred timeline.
For now though that desire and the way that Johnson has taken to Twitter seems to be fueling the performances on the field.
"Every player finds different motivations. Everybody plays with something motivating them. Sometimes it's their pride, sometimes it's their ego, sometimes it's a chip on their shoulder, to produce for their family. They want score because they are happy with the team and the situation that they're in. There's a lot of things that go on that can motivate players," Schmid explained. "For Eddie, what's he got three goals in four games? Scored some key goals for the national team. As long as he plays well, that's the most important thing. Whatever drives him, I'm OK with because he's pretty motivated, driven player."