Where there was smoke, there was indeed fire when it came to the Colorado Rapids' interest in Eddie Johnson. But in the end, the price for the onetime US national team striker was just too high.
“We were far from the other offers,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com, admitting the team did make a formal offer for Johnson. “We were interested, but we were in the stage of exploring with Eddie.”
When the Montreal Impact posted on Twitter last Friday afternoon that they planned to deal Johnson — whom the Canadian club landed via an allocation — all signs pointed toward the Rapids swinging a deal for the former Fulham man.
After all, Pareja (above, left) played alongside Johnson for five years in Dallas and said he admired the 27-year-old's game and believed he'd be a good fit in Colorado. But in the end, that's all it turned out to be: talk. Seattle landed Johnson by offering the Impact an attractive two-player package of Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle, something with which the Rapids ultimately couldn't compete.
Despite the team’s relatively long-standing interest – Pareja said Johnson’s name had come up in meetings more than three weeks ago – the Rapids also knew swinging a deal for the forward player would be difficult because of the allocation rankings, where the Rapids were 14th in the pecking.
“It was just more of testing and seeing,” Bravo (above, with Pareja) told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday from the Rapids’ training camp in Hawaii. “We feel pretty good as to where the group is, so when you look at it, maybe the interest [in Johnson] was a bit blown out of proportion.”
In the end, the Rapids will move on with the players currently in camp, with perhaps some final additions before First Kick.
“We’re moving forward," Pareja said. "We’re happy with the players that we have.”