The Tale of Two American Forwards

Our friend Steven Goff of the Washington Post is reporting late Sunday eastern time that Eddie Johnson has left the US National Team camp at the Home Depot Center and is en route to Craven Cottage to negotiate a contract with Fulham. Johnson whose future we debated last week on the American Soccer Show needs to man up and use his physical abilities if he is to survive in the English Premier League. (at times he’s hardly survived in MLS.)

While Johnson is apparently headed to England, his much maligned US national team forward running mate Taylor Twellman is not leaving MLS after New England rejected the best possible offer they could ever imagine to receive for Twellman from Preston North End. PNE is a club that has had Americans before and is struggling to avoid relegation to League One. Previously the league had no trouble selling an aging Brian McBride to Preston and he went on to a better career in England than he had in MLS after year one of the league. (McBride was outstanding the first season of MLS and then fairly average until his sale to Preston) But this time with Twellman badly wanting to go to England, the league and his club said no. Mike Burns, the former Revs captain who now is the GM for the club claims that Twellman signed a contract and must honor it- that’s fine in some cases but in the case of taking away a once in a lifetime opportunity for a player who has given so much to his club and league it is grossly unfair. Twellman like his New England team mate Shalrie Joseph lost out on an opportunity of a lifetime because the Revs don’t seem to play the transfer game.

The Johnson situation is odd as well. Having rejected previous offers from European clubs for Johnson’s services (an offer from Benfica in 2005 was reported to have exceeded $5 million), I am surprised MLS is so anxious to deal him now. It was obvious from my vantage point all summer long that the league was trying to dump Johnson in haste for any price- but was rebuffed when EJ himself decided to stay in MLS.

I’ll have more thoughts on both situations later and on this week’s American Soccer Show. In addition, I have spent some time at the MLS Player Combine this weekend and have some definitive thoughts about what I observed on the site and on this week’s American Soccer Show.


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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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6 Responses to The Tale of Two American Forwards

  1. Daniel says:

    Disgusting. Simply unacceptable that the Revs won’t allow someone who has been so great for their club the opportunity to move abroad.

  2. JRT says:

    Why should the Revs sell their best player? They let Dempsey go last year and would have allowed Joseph to leave if the offer hadn’t been so insulting……just because a club in Europe makes an offer does not mean you should accept it!

  3. 90 Minutes says:

    MLS has to know how and when to play in the transfer market. This is a clear case where they will never get a higher offer for the player in question. Thus, if the player wants the opportunity to go, he must be given the freedom to move. I can think of nothing worse than to have a bitter player, particularly one known for being bitter, as he was at Arena for leaving him out of the UMMNT for the 2006 Cup.

  4. eplnfl says:

    I would agree that just because a English side comes by and offers a few pounds or two that MLS needs to jump. It’s important to keep good local talent here and Twellman has a bit of name that more than the hardcore fan may know. So, in my view great.

  5. Ray says:

    Crazy! Fulham won’t get off the American gravy train until they actually are relegated.

  6. bandeeto says:

    Can it be that the Revs, and perhaps MLS, valued Twellman more that EJ? I believe that EJ is overhyped. He can run fast, but MLS doesn’t stand for Most Likable Sprinter. Twellman is the real- deal, at the club level anyway. Perhaps, in a backhanded way, MLS and the Revs were giving Twellman a compliment… that they cannot afford to loose his talent and ability. Now they need to finish the statment and pay him like he deservs.

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