Johnson disappointed to lose Montero as strike partner

Eddie Johnson

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TUKWILA, Wash. – By the end of the 2012 regular season, Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero had combined for 27 goals and 11 assists, making a serious bid to be recognized as the best forward tandem in the league.

With Montero back in Colombia on loan to Millonarios for the entirely of 2013, the fact that they won't be able to build on that momentum this season comes as a disappointment to Johnson.

"You know it's kind of frustrating for me, because I was looking forward to playing with him and establishing a better relationship on the field than we had last season,” Johnson said after returning from United States national team duty. “But at the end of the day, we're all professionals. We all have to do what's best for ourselves. He's been here for four years, and I think he's at a point in his career where he wants to challenge himself elsewhere.

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“We all know what he can do, we all know what he's meant to this club, and I was shocked when I heard the news because I thought when we did play some games together and we gelled, we were untouchable. But all the best for him. I know he'll do well and I know he's going to have a fantastic career."

With or without Montero as his running mate, Johnson was excited to get his first extended taste of Sounders preseason training. Johnson joined the Sounders just a few weeks before the start of the 2012 season and his integration was slowed by several nagging injuries.

"I've been dying to get back, to get with the guys,” he said. “It's going to be a very exciting here. And preseasons are important to form that chemistry on the field, get the understanding of the players you're going to be playing with, and just trying to get on the same page. It's important. I'm fully healthy and looking forward to getting out there with the guys, and looking forward to going to Arizona and playing in some of the games."