Author’s note: Go ahead, let your hate rain down upon me in the comment section. It only makes me stronger!
Yes, I know he’s a terrible locker room presence. Yes, I know he’s spent most of the year on the bench for D.C. United. Yes, I know he couldn’t even beat out Chris Wondolowski for a spot on the World Cup team. And I don’t care. He’s in his prime, and his talent and style of play would make him an absolutely perfect fit in the Orlando City system.
Of course, teams have yet to decide who will be protected and who will be available in the MLS Expansion Draft, so we can’t know for sure if he’ll even be there. In taking over for the injured Luis Silva, he’s actually be very solid for DCU of late, notching a goal and an assist in last week’s 2-1 win over Chicago. However, he hasn’t contributed nearly enough this year to warrant a DP spot and $600K for DC, so I can’t believe they won’t at least consider leaving him unprotected.
Let’s ignore the personality stuff for just a second and focus on the soccer. There will not be many guys available to City with Johnson’s talent up front. In particular, his speed and ability to make well-timed runs would be a perfect match with a certain Brazilian field general.
Check out this goal that was (wrongly) disallowed against Mexico: Kaka will make that pass every day and twice on Sunday. There aren’t many guys in the U.S. pool with the ability to make that kind of run consistently.
Not to mention Johnsons’ insane aerial ability, which will make life easy for a young fullback like Tyler Turner. Throw a cross pretty much anywhere in the box, and there’s a decent chance Johnson makes a play on it. Remember this ridiculous header? The vertical leap there is absolutely unreal.
Now the other stuff. First, picking up Eddie’s contract might actually not be a bad move for Orlando. Yes, he’s a DP, but we need an affordable DP, considering the $7 million we dropped on Kaka. At only $600K, while not cheap, Johnson doesn’t come close to some of the salaries being afforded other DP’s in the league.
Next, the personality. I don’t have a good answer for you here. He’s caused trouble everywhere he’s gone. The Johnny Manziel-ian antics in Seattle were really bad.
Still, sometimes you’ve got to take risks. I’m not sure there’s going to be another American available with this much talent, who would fit so well in our system. We can sit around and cross our fingers for Miguel Ibarra or Cubo Torres, but I’m not counting on either landing at City. If he’s available, I think Orlando City should at least consider putting faith in Adrian Heath’s ability to control Johnson and bring out the talent that he so very clearly has.
Oh, and did I mention how much he LOVES step overs?