New York City FC trade for goalkeeper Sean Johnson in three-team deal

Sean Johnson - close up

New York City FC have a new goalkeeper.

In a three-team swap completed during Major League Soccer’s Half-Day Trade Window on Sunday, Sean Johnson was traded from the Chicago Fire to Atlanta United, who then flipped the 27-year-old goalie to NYCFC in exchange for General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money.

“Sean has been one of the best goalkeepers in MLS over the last five years and has also spent time with the US national team,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a release. “He is an athletic, commanding goalkeeper who is entering the peak of his career and we are excited to have him join our club.”

Johnson had been the longest-tenured Fire player, joining Chicago as a 51st overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft and making 176 starts over the last seven years, logging 548 total saves and tallying 36 shutouts with a 1.42 goals against average.

“Sean has defended our badge with passion and honor and we are thankful,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said in a release. “We wish him well and he will always be a treasured member of our Fire family.”

"The past seven years has been an incredible journey starting with a dream turned into an opportunity, eventually becoming a place that I am proud to call home," Johnson said. "I never thought this day would come, but unfortunately this chapter of my life is coming to a close. I would like to thank Andrew Hauptman and the Chicago Fire organization for giving me the opportunity to represent this club. I'll be embarking on another journey that I'm excited and thankful for but I wish the Fire nothing but the best in the future. It has truly been an absolute honor to wear the badge." 

Johnson has made five appearances for the US national team after rising through the youth ranks with the US U-20 and U-23 teams. He'll join an team that includes Josh Saunders, who started 33 games in goal in each of NYCFC’s first two seasons.

“I’m really pleased that we have added Sean to our roster for 2017,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. "Competition for places in our squad is important across every position and we believe we've signed a goalkeeper with a huge amount of experience in this league, with his best years still ahead. I'm really looking forward to working with him when we return for training after the holidays."

Atlanta, who sent General Allocation Money to Chicago in exchange for Johnson before moving him to NYCFC, are reportedly close to signing US national team stalwart Brad Guzan to fill in their own void in net. They’ve been very active during Sunday’s trade window, already dealing for Michael Parkhurst, Kevin Kratz, Harrison Heath and Romario Williams.