Eddie Johnson was always a player who needed to feel comfortable in his surroundings. He was always a tough kid on the field, which is why a lot of coaches liked him. As a target player, Johnson was willing to stand in and take the punishment.
But he needed to feel needed. Going way back to his days in Dallas, then later in Kansas City, Johnson was at his best when he felt wanted, when things around the locker room were just so. Some of that was about his age. Johnson was only 23 years old when he shipped out for England in 2008 – still a relatively young man.
(Also don’t forget that he personally nixed a $6 million move to Derby County prior to the move into West London; that one, apparently, didn’t feel right.)
The point is, Johnson is a better player when he can feel good about the situation around him. So, perhaps his goal Saturday for the Sounders is a harbinger of good things ahead, a sign that he’s feeling settled in Seattle. The former U.S. international had the game-winner as Seattle downed Chicago at windy and chilly Toyota Park, 2-1.
Even if it wasn’t the prettiest (a poacher’s goal) it was surely meaningful, one of the few Johnson has hit in top tier soccer since he struck his last strike for the Kansas City Wizards in 2007.
Cardiff City was in the second tier when he scored twice for them back in the 2008-09 season. Johnson hit five times for Aris in Greece in 2010, but never found goal in 16 matches for Preston North End in 2011.
Here are highlights from last night’s road win for the Sounders. You’ll see Johnson set up the first Sounders’ goal, and later a rare goal directly off a corner kick.