Eddie Johnson has been given his money.
Earlier this week, D.C. United announced that Johnson, acquired over the offseason in a trade with the Seattle Sounders, was given a contract extension that elevates him to Designated Player status.
Johnson, who had a fantastic 2013 season for the Sounders in which the forward scored nine goals, was being underpaid in and made it known with his now infamous post-goal “pay me” celebration versus the Columbus Crew.
In the past two seasons with the Sounders, Johnson boasted 23 goals and logged nearly 4,000 minutes; he was clearly the best player on a team that included USMNT captain Clint Dempsey and Nigerian international Obafemi Martins.
“Eddie is an elite striker who is in the prime of his career, and we are thrilled that he has made a commitment to D.C. United,” said DC United general manager Dave Kasper. “We look forward to Eddie’s contributions on and off the field.”
To put in consideration how underpaid Johnson was, his contract of $150,000 last season was 30 times less than Dempsey’s ($4.9 million) and one-tenth of the contract Martins ($1.6 million) receive from the Seattle.
It felt as if Seattle wasn’t sold on Johnson, and also lacked the flexibility to upgrade his contract for the 2014 season, so instead of continuing the drama from last season, Seattle decided to shop around the USMNT star in the trade market.
DC United shipped an undisclosed amount of allocation money to Seattle in December to obtain the services of the star forward.
Although under contract for the 2014 season, one of the parts of the agreement is that the red-and-black promised to discuss a new deal that would make the star forward a DP.
Many questioned the move by DC United to make Johnson a DP. However if there is one player in the league who deserves a DP contract, it’s Johnson.
Johnson, who first came to MLS as a second-round pick of the then-Dallas Burn, scored 24 goals for the Burn in five seasons before being traded to the then Kansas City Wizards in 2006.
Johnson had a great 2007 season in which the forward scored 15 goals and was transferred to EPL-side Fulham where he played for three seasons.
He also spent a season on loan with Greek Super League side Aris FC, and returned to MLS with the Sounders in 2012.
Johnson returned to MLS humbled and ready to prove he belonged and he sure didn’t disappoint in Seattle.
A likely selection for this summer’s World Cup squad, Johnson possesses the type of speed and versatility that’s bound to open up defenses for his teammates. Though he may only contribute 12-or-so goals this year, his presence will be reflected in his teammate’s numbers, and when healthy, which he is, Johnson is one of the premier forwards in the league.
“I want to thank D.C. United for showing faith in me,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud to wear the Black-and-Red, and I am excited to get the season started with my new teammates”
So you don’t miss games this 2014 season, view the MLS TV schedule. You can also watch games via MLS Live. And be sure to stay updated on the MLS news throughout the season via the MLSsoccer.com site.