Eddie Johnson softens his "pay me" celebration stance, says he's happy with Seattle Sounders

TUKWILA, Wash. — Things are going pretty well for Eddie Johnson these days.

The forward is fresh off scoring the game-winning goal for the US national team in their victory over Mexico that also clinched a spot in the 2014 World Cup. He has scored three goals and had an assist in his past four matches with the Seattle Sounders. And his club is playing for the top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race against Real Salt Lake on Friday (10 pm ET, NBCSN). 

His bosses also seem to agree with the notion that he deserves a raise.

Given all that, it’s maybe not all that surprising that Johnson is taking a bit of a softer stance than his “pay me” celebration after his game-winning goal earlier this month against the Columbus Crew would suggest.

“Sometimes as an athlete or as a human being you go through so much in your life, and no one is perfect,” Johnson said on Thursday, the first time he’s spoken with local media since the incident. “It wasn't anything about me trying to come at the club, just sometimes different people have different upbringings.

"In my sake, I don't come from a lot. I come from a mom who was a single mom – I'm one of three – and my whole thing is playing this sport and being a father of two is being able to provide for all of them. When you work hard in life, sometimes you just want to be rewarded. But at the same time, you have to be patient. I guess it was the first thing that came to my mind, but that's behind me.”

Aside from the celebration itself, Johnson also came under heavy criticism for some of his responses to fans on Twitter. He did not apologize for anything he said, but Johnson clearly wanted to clarify his feelings about the organization and its fans.

“I came off Twitter because a lot of the fans didn't like that,” Johnson said. “But just for the fans, I'm happy to be here in Seattle. I couldn’t be happier in a professional environment playing with great players and in a professional organization.

“I keep reiterating to [general manager Adrian Hanauer], to [head coach Sigi Schmid] and to [sporting director] Chris Henderson, all those guys know my heart is here and I’m happy in Seattle. The success I’m having on the field is just a credit to those guys giving me a second chance to do what I love to do and that’s play soccer.”