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The Eddie Johnson Trade: 'You've Just Been Erased'

A final look at the trade that sent Eddie Johnson to the Seattle Sounders for Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle.

Richard Wolowicz

Close to a full calendar year later, there is no more physical trace of one of the Montreal Impact's first trades in MLS. Outside the 2012 Expansion Draft, It was the first MLS trade for the Montreal Impact and it was big one.

Updated with Sporting Director , Nick De Santis, comment on that trade earlier this week (see below)

It was a warm month of February as the Montreal Impact was holding a pre-season camp in Los Angeles . Eddie Johnson was announced to come back to the MLS after getting lost in Europe, notably in Greece. The potential star that came to Fulham never seemed to fulfill his destiny, at least not then. As contract negotiations were ongoing between E.J and MLS , the US International had to go through the allocation process.

Having first dibs in the allocation draft as an expansion club, this would have been good news for an expansion club to land a good striker like Eddie Johnson. But quickly, it was known that Johnson was looking to go stateside so that pretty much killed any enthusiasm of having the striker wearing white and blue.

On February 17th 2012, the Montreal Impact selected Eddie Johnson and shortly announced his trade to the Seattle Sounders for Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito.

Eddie Johnson 2012 Seattle Sounders FC 28 24 14 2120 3 72 25 40 35 6 0
Mike Fucito 2012 Portland Timbers 12 3 0 398 0 4 0 4 6 0 0
Mike Fucito 2012 Montreal Impact 1 0 0 26 0 0 0 3 0 0 0
Lamar Neagle 2012 Montreal Impact 23 11 2 1086 2 23 5 10 6 1 0

After trading Mike Fucito to the Portland Timbers and Lamar Neagle to Seattle, what was supposed a game changing trade for the Impact is now a line among thousands in the book of MLS trades and transfers.

From initial reports around the time of the E.J. trade to Seattle, the Montreal Impact wanted to have the US striker in its squad but were forced to trade him. We all remember the tweets of disappointment and hate when fans were reacting to the initial news that E.J was avoiding to come to Montreal.

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It did feel like a good trade after getting 2 Seattle favorites that would add depth and youth to a squad that was looking to both build for the now and the future. Mike Fucito never really panned out and we still don't know what exactly happened as he played a total of 26 minutes with the Impact. A disconnect and lack of chemistry with the coaching staff might explain the Fucito debacle, if we can even consider it a debacle.

On the other hand, Lamar Neagle had the chance to prove himself having played in a total of 23 games with 11 starts. Being versatile to be able to play on both the left and right side, the Washington state native offered a decent option coming off the bench with a nice shot. Not necessarily the most exciting player to watch, Neagle had his moments with the team, notably when scoring a goal against Seattle and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Lamar Neagle never hide his love for Seattle and the club and it is no surprise to see him go back to Cascadia, even if it was so soon after leaving the Seattle. ( this is his third comeback to the Sounders)

Disassociation of the club with Jesse Marsch

There is an obvious and expected disassociation of what a previous coach has done and brought as players to a club. This trade might be the symbol of that process even though Lamar Neagle wanted to come back to Seattle, not leave the Montreal Impact. Both players and club confirmed that information but Sporting Director Nick De Santis added something else earlier this week when asked about the ultimate outcome of the trade

That wasn't our trade , that wasn't our decision

It is quite surprising to see the Nick De Santis' candor on the trade and where the club stands. It does not have to do at all with any anti-US feeling that the club has been tagged with. If only we knew that Eddie Johnson's feeling from the player himself on coming to Montreal if he was not traded. Were there trade offers that were better back then or better now that the Impact could have had?

From now on, the Eddie Johnson trade will be forever archived in the history books of MLS with the Seattle Sounders the obvious winners. The causes behind this?

The only hypothesis we know: Eddie Johnson did not want to come to Montreal and Seattle offered the best deal at that time but questions will always remain but soon forgotten

  • What were other teams offering the Impact?
  • What really happened between the club (or only Jesse Marsch) and Mike Fucito?
  • Was Lamar Neagle a pure Jesse Marsch choice and the club is currently cleaning house?...
What are you questions about the infamous E.J Trade?