TUKWILA, Wash. — When asked if, given what he knows now, he would still make the trade that brought Eddie Johnson to the Seattle Sounders, Adrian Hanauer is uncharacteristically succinct.
“Yes,” the Sounders general manager told MLSsoccer.com.
In an offseason filled with transactions, the one that put Johnson in Rave Green was easily the most high profile. In order to acquire the former United States international from the Montreal Impact, the Sounders parted ways with a pair of relatively young and productive fan favorites in Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito.
As the Sounders get ready to pay the Impact a visit on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, TSN2 in Canada, MLS Live in US), the returns on the trade seem to be helping Hanauer’s case.
While not quite flashing the form that saw him score 15 goals during his last MLS season in 2007, Johnson has contributed three goals and an assist in more than 650 MLS minutes. Meanwhile, Fucito has already moved on from the Impact after rarely featuring and Neagle has been limited to just two assists in 502 minutes.
Hanauer said that aside from missing a handful of games due to injury and some fitness issues limiting him to just seven starts, Johnson has mostly lived up to expectations.
“He’s been great in locker room, great in training,” Hanauer said. “We just expect him to provide more and more here as we progress through the season. Ultimately, our objective is to win championships. If Eddie helps us win championships, then it’s been a good trade.”
Johnson seems to be at ease with those expectations. He has repeatedly said he understands the Sounders paid a high price in order to acquire him and intends on making sure it was worth it.
“I want to be out there and be among the top leaders in the league,” Johnson said earlier this week. “That’s one of my goals, as well as winning the MLS Cup in Seattle. I’m happy, yes, but I think I could accomplish a lot more.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.