SEATTLE — The Sounders and the league office are actively shopping Eddie Johnson around Major League Soccer, according to a Sports Illustrated report citing an unnamed MLS team executive.
Johnson, Seattle’s leading scorer the past two seasons, is currently serving with the U.S. national team ahead of exhibitions against Scotland and Austria.
The Sounders declined to comment on the report.
A tenuous status wouldn’t come as a huge surprise; the 29-year-old forward has had a roller-coaster run with the team and wasn’t brought up in a Monday conference call with general manager Adrian Hanauer looking forward to next season.
Johnson’s desire for a pay raise has also been no secret, which could be an issue for a team often constrained by the salary cap. That isn’t to say he isn’t due more than his $150,000 salary after having scored 23 regular-season goals the past two years — second-most in Sounders history — not to mention his revival with the national team.
But there have been off-the-field concerns, as Johnson has been subject to team and league discipline during his time in Seattle. He also drew attention to himself in August for a controversial “Pay me!” goal celebration.
Johnson has an option year in his contract for 2014, according to Hanauer, who added, “I think I’ve been made pretty aware that that’s probably not a salary that he wants to play at.”
On Monday’s conference call, Hanauer had noted “there could be some decent turnover on our roster” this offseason.
Trading the team’s top scorer the past two years would certainly qualify.
Dempsey injures calf with USMNT: Clint Dempsey has been forced to withdraw from the U.S. national team after suffering a right calf strain during practice Wednesday. The USMNT captain won’t be available for the exhibitions against Scotland and Austria.
The injury is just the latest in a tough run for Dempsey since he signed with Seattle in August. The 30-year-old also had issues with his hamstring and shoulder in his three months with the Sounders before this latest setback.
No replacement will be made to fill Dempsey’s place on the roster.