The Impact, at the top of the allocation order, snapped up Johnson, who scored 41 times for FC Dallas and the Kansas City Wizards — including the first-ever MLS goal scored at BMO Field, back in 2007 — before bouncing around Europe and never really catching on. But right after the pick was made, the club made a big deal with the Sounders, receiving two attacking players, Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle, in exchange for EJ. Both Neagle and Fucito are in their mid 20s and could have started regularly on some other clubs, but were stuck on a rather deep Seattle squad.
Johnson had originally announced his intention to come back to MLS in August of 2011, but then withdrew himself from the process before any team could sign him.
Fucito scored six goals in all competitions last year; Neagle scored five in MLS and then added another playoff marker in the Western Conference semifinal loss to Real Salt Lake. Three of Neagle’s goals came in an August win over Columbus.
Bascially, the Impact sacrificed its spot at the top of the allocation ladder — it now moves to spot No. 19 — in exchange for two forwards with lots of upside.
It also creates an even bigger squeeze for the Canadians still fighting for jobs. The Impact needs to carry three Canadians, but have just two on the roster. With the move, two more Americans have been added and there is very little room left at the inn.
“We have made our team much stronger today,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch in a release. “Mike Fucito is a dynamic and talented young forward who we believe is on the verge of having a great year and establishing himself as a very good forward in MLS. Lamar Neagle is a player who is a very good offensive threat from wide positions and has also shown that he can score goals.”
The Impact strengthened its ties with Seattle, which is looking like a favourite wheeler-dealer partner for the club. Miguel Montano, now with the Impact full-time, came to the team last season on loan from Seattle.
And, while Montreal fans were waiting for news on the Johnson deal, they learned that the Impact played to a scoreless draw with the UCLA Bruins, though veteran Eduardo Sebrango and supplemental draft pick Evan James — neither of whom have been signed by the club — created some decent chances.
Greg Sutton got the clean sheet for Montreal.
In the second game, the Impact got goals from Felipe Martins, Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Steven Miller — another unsigned supplemental draft pick — as it beat the Ventura County Fusion of the PDL by a 3-1 count.
Evan Bush, the NASL’s top goalkeeper in 2011, got the start in the win over Ventura County.
Montano who, along with Bush and Ubiparipovic, spent time with the Impact in NASL last season, had a penalty attempt saved. But he got a measure of revenge as he was the playmaker on the Ubiparipovic goal.
And now Montano will get ready to greet some of his old Seattle teammates, Fucito and Neagle.
For James, Sebrango and Miller, their performances may not matter — as they are seeing roster spots dwindle as they continue to try and impress at camp.
Neagle’s hat trick earns him Player of the Week nod (CLICK)
MLS returnee Eddie Johnson has unique place in Toronto soccer history (CLICK)