Player Profile #4: Eddie Johnson

USA TODAY Sports

Eddie carries controversy with him. Most of that is due to off-field issues, a goal celebration and his social media presence. On the pitch Sounder at Heart readers felt he was the fourth most important player on the season.

Twice in a row Eddie Johnson led Seattle Sounders FC in scoring. This year those numbers were a bit lower as he earned more United States National Team attention. Eleven goals in all MLS matches is a good number, not great, but good. When he played Seattle was clearly a better side than when he didn't. Let's talk about EJ's impact on the field of play. It may only be part of what he is, but it's the part that the 2013 profile series has focused on for everyone else.

#4 Eddie Johnson
Nat'l Affil USA Age 29
Years Pro 13 Years Sounder 2
Pos/Role Forward
MLS (+Playoff) Stats CCL/USOC Stats Reserve Stats
Apps 24 3 0
Starts 23 3 0
Mins 1995 241 0
G 11 0 0
A 2 0 0
PP/90 1.08 0.75 --
Advanced Stats
Off Pass % Net Shot Rate Net Duel Rate
Total 65% -2.47 -2.19
Team Rank 5th 23rd 18th

#4 Eddie Johnson

Acquired for a popular local player and a cult hero EJ's deck was stacked against him. He'd faded from attention by Euro leagues and from the USMNT. Two years later he was dealt away for the maximum allocation number in MLS. His on-field turnaround could not be more notable.

Offense: Strong hold-up play and distribution on a large frame with a potent head for scoring identifies him as one of the best target men in Major League Soccer at this time. He also can be used in wide roles as a winger and even a distributor. His crossing is below needed in those secondary roles, but he is good enough wide to play there for the USA. Good with his feet. After missed shots or dispossessions will take his time to get back onside sometimes slowing a counter-attack. Pushes the line well when his side is in control. Unlike many target men can be used for over-the-top balls.

The perfect man to target in dead ball situations.

Defense: Erratic even for a forward. Can lunge in and chase, but often does not. Defending deep set-pieces he can mark a top three target, but should not be the key to defending the play.

Physique: Johnson is the perfect answer to "what if the best American athletes played soccer." He is strong, fast, a great leaper and could likely compete in decathlon or total athlete events. He uses every single one of these advantages while playing soccer.

Best Case 2014: He will show well at the World Cup and score about 20 goals for D.C. United. With good service that's his high side.

Eddie's gone and these are some of the things we will miss.

Ej-head-goal-la_medium

His passion for winning.

Ej-celebration_medium

His BoomBoom

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