Friday, July 13, 2007

Get a Move On EJ

So here is the problem. Eddie Johnson appears to be the #1 USMNT striker. This is something that I really, really don't understand and cannot quite come to accept. My thoughts on this guys International form are pretty apparent: I think he sucks.

That said, he does seem to have two things on his side; his age (he's 23) and that a lot more people disagree with me and think that he is a good forward. Those two things should allow him to either continue to be a USMNT forward for a while. So with EJ's spot on the USMNT roster almost as established as Landon Donovan's, I really wish he would do something that Lando failed to do; move to Europe.

According to reports, Derby County has a large amount of interest in signing Eddie from MLS. As Derby County has just been promoted to the EPL, they are looking to increase their presence up front and EJ seems to be in their plans. However, regardless of this interest, the Kansas City Wizards don't appear to be interested in listening to any offers. I think the biggest problem here is that EJ is not going anywhere, period.

What was it, three years ago when EJ burst onto the scene, dropping 3 goals on Panama at RFK Stadium? I was there, I saw it. My brother asked me who he was and I didn't have an answer. Shortly after that introduction, word came through the wires that Benfica had offered $6 million or so for Eddie's contract. MLS turned them down. That was strike 1. Eddie should have gone over to Portugal at the first offer. Had he done that, it would have been sink or swim.

So fast forward to the summer of 2007. We are hearing reports that EJ is being courted by another European club, but this time in England, the EPL no less. What should EJ do?

EJ should go, and he himself should have the sense enough to know that moving across the pond to play in England is the next logical step towards becoming a better forward. I would hope that he would relish that chance to go over to England and play against Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and the other great clubs over there. If he learned anything at the Copa America is that the international defenders are much faster and skillful than the MLS defenders and if he wants to be on top, he needs to start playing against the better defenders.

Now I understand the desire of MLS and Kansas City to want to keep him, they think that he is a good player and having good American players in the league it a vital part of keeping the league going. Based on that, EJ and the USSF should step in and make requests for the transfer. Bob Bradley should be on the phone with Don Garber explaining how sending EJ across to England would actually help MLS. It would show that MLS has players that are good enough to take the international club stage.

The future of the USMNT is directly linked to the players getting better. With all respect for MLS, there is only a certain amount of growth that can happen for US players who stay in MLS. Clint Dempsey realized this, and he basically forced a transfer to Fulham. DeMarcus Beasley realized this as well and jumped at the chance that PSV offered him and fought tooth and nail to remain over in Europe rather than return to RSL. Eddie Johnson needs to recognize this and get the wheels moving on a transfer overseas.

Ric Flair once said -"If you want to be the Best, you've got to beat the Best."

If Eddie Johnson wants to be the best, hell, he has to at least play the best. Playing in MLS ain't the best.

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Anonymous CFernandes said...


I just found your blog on the count of the Benfica reference you made. Let em know if you youe like to exchange links on the blogroll since there are not too many English soccer blogs. I get about 200 visits a day.
custodio Fernandes

1:52 PM  
Anonymous chunter said...

I don't really understand why Eddie gets all the caps while Taylor Twellman and Ante Razov get stuck having to play for the clubs and that's it. Eddie has proven that when he plays on K.C. it's like he can do no wrong, and when he's called up for USA more often than not, he can do no right.

Derby might be an important learning experience for him. Then again, he may dominate and score all the goals for a non-contending team.

What is it about the international game that makes some players look brilliant when they are mediocre in club play, and others look terrible when they dominate their clubs?

The only fast answer I can provide is that there are ten other men on the pitch.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

altidore is our future. eddie, taylor, razov, wolff all cannot cut it at the top level.

kevin, nyc

8:52 AM  

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