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Trade Flashback: Eddie Johnson for Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito

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You could say that 4 months is enough to look back at a trade between 2 teams and evaluate the effect of that trade on both teams. We are joined by Sounders At Heart 's Dave Clark to give his Cascadian point of view of this trade and how it has affected the Seattle Sounders and its fans.

Before posting Dave`s answers, let`s take a statistical look at the trade between the Montreal Impact and the Seattle Sounders.

Player

Offensive Stats

Minutes Played

Shots

Comments

Eddie Johnson

3 goals, 1 assists

666

21

Making Montero Better?

Lamar Neagle

0 goals, 2 assists

502

8

Humble and hard working

Mike Fucito

0 goals, 0 assists

26

0

Never wanted to come to Montreal

Let's go back in time and remember when Eddie Johnson was in process of getting back to Major League Soccer after getting lost in European Soccer Desert, trying to get back where he should be. It was around February 2012 and the Montreal Impact was in Los Angeles towards the end of its second pre-season tour, their first against MLS oppositions. As soon as Eddie Johnson negotiated his MLS contract with the league, he had to go through the allocation process in which teams are ranked (like in a draft) and Montreal had first dibs (1st overall).
On February 17th 2012, the Montreal Impact picked up Eddie Johnson and immediately announced their intent of trading him. Pretty quickly, it was known that Eddie Johnson choices were Kansas City and Colorado even though Jesse Marsch would have used a striker of his quality in a team lacking offensive power. It was known thanks to HBO-like 24/7 show following the Impact in its preseason period that offers came quickly to the Impact for the services of Eddie Johnson and the Montreal brain trust (coaching staff, Matt Jordan and Nick De Santis) wanted the striker.

At the end, logic prevailed and the Seattle Sounders offered to give 2 young MLS players for Eddie Johnson.

More after the jump...

Lamar Neagle continues to progress after a slow start due to injuries and is making it hard for Jesse Marsch to bench him even though the competition in the midfield is getting tougher and tougher as the season goes one.

Mike ‘' Church Of ‘' Fucito played 26 minutes against Vancouver and disappeared with the Reserve without ever knowing why, at least nothing apparently obvious. He was traded on April 20th 2012 to the Portland Timbers, in the land of Cascadia, a place that he probably never wanted to leave, for either a MLS SuperDraft second-round pick in 2013 or an international roster slot through Dec. 31, 2013. . His comments after his trade were odd at best (he mentioned the language being one of the factors when interviewed on Extra Time Radio) but at the end, the young man just didn't want to be in Montreal or maybe not be away from Seattle.

Enough of me bantering and let's ask a real MLS expert and Sounders At Heart maestro, Dave Clark

Sofiane: Thank you for taking the time Dave to answer my question about the trade between Montreal and Seattle, that saw Eddie Johnson come to the Sounders for Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle. Did you know and/or did you hope that the Seattle Sounders would make a move for Eddie Johnson?

Dave: I didn't expect the trade. In my opinion the offense wasn't broken, and though it wasn't working in the ways that Sigi Schmid wanted. His ideal for the forward pairing is something along the lines of what Seattle saw in 2009 with Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero. That big/small system worked well. The hope from the team was that if Montero continued in that type of pairing his offensive output wouldn't slightly trend up but explode as he matured.

Sofiane: Mike Fucito becoming a ‘' cult hero ‘' in Seattle and Lamar Neagle being the local boy, how did the fans and media see 2 young players leave a Seattle team to get a ‘' lost in the desert ‘'

Dave: If there's one person not named Mike Fucito that is responsible for his cult status it would be me. I was advocating for him to get more playing time as early as late 2009. His successes when he did play expanded fan passion towards him. With Lamar Neagle it wasn't just that he was local, but how he connected to this community. Prior to the trade both mentioned that they wanted to pickup after two of their mentors who had left Seattle and be even more active. So for Seattle fans that didn't like the trade (SaH probably has a higher share of that than the broader Sounders community) it wasn't just about losing two slightly younger players with upside, it was about losing individual connections to the fanbase.

Sofiane: Last question. Tell us about the complicity between Johnson and Montero and how did Sigi Schmid integrate him in an already solid team that has built a strong chemistry with a nice playoff run in 2011.

Dave : It's starting to work. While Johnson isn't playing like a traditional target as he drifts wide, Montero is scoring more often early in the season. They can do fun things together as both are good with the ball at their feet. The creative passing between the two should continue to expand. They aren't near their peak yet. There will be a time when both are on fire scoring stunning goals off of quick interplay and league observers will stand up and declare it one of the strongest strike partnerships in MLS.

The trade made playing time room for David Estrada and Alex Caskey, but even if it hadn't it probably works in Seattle's favor to this point. EJ has been at least an average MLS forward who is capable of much more. Fucito and Neagle are still missed though.