You can never have enough speed…

…especially up front.

That’s what a former coach once told me.

Like the 3-point shot in basketball, speed is the ultimate equalizer on the soccer field. Defensive mistakes can be covered and a lack of touch can be forgiven – all in the name of speed.

Now that you’ve let that sink in, consider this: the United States has two players with world-class afterburners – Charlie Davies and Landon Donovan. Above all else, Davies and Donovan can fly up the pitch with the best in the world – just ask Brazil.

So what if I told you it was possible we could see one more speedster to the attack? You’d be interested in that, right?

Enter Eddie Johnson, the oft-ridiculed and seemingly long-forgotten Fulham striker. A 6’1 striker with plenty of speed to burn, great skill, and apparently a new lease on soccer life.

If you’re a soccer junkie (and if you’re reading my writing, the chances are high that you are), then you already have heard about Johnson’s tear through the preseason exhibitions for Fulham. In case you haven’t, Johnson has a goal and two assists in his last two preseason games for Fulham.

Now, it’s not likely we’ll see Johnson making the trip to Azteca next month, but it’s fair to say that Johnson has certainly turned some American heads with his play, both in preseason with Fulham and at the end of last season with Cardiff City.

With Johnson performing well for Fulham in preseason, he’s increasing his chances of securing a good loan move for the upcoming season, as plenty of Coca-Cola Championship teams would love to add someone with his speed and skill. With a decent stable of forwards at Fulham – Andy Johnson, Diomansy Kamara, Erik Nevland, Hameur Bouazza, and Clint Dempsey – it’s unlikely that Eddie will stay on at Fulham for this season (barring injuries in preseason of course).

As for Eddie’s USMNT future? Well, his penchant for being a streaky scorer means we could see a month or two where he gets hot and receives some call-ups. If he can sustain some consistency for a team throughout the year, it’s definitely possible that Johnson could be a surprise inclusion in the 2010 roster. His speed, skill, and finishing could be a very valuable asset off the bench for the national team.

Young strikers with speed and World Cup experience don’t just grow on trees, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on Johnson for the next 12 months.


5 Responses

  1. I still think he needs more time to mature. Let’s wait until the season starts at Fulham before we go crazy. Maybe in some of the (hopefully) meaningless qualifiers later in the cycle, he can get some playing time and regain his form with the Nats.

  2. Besides speed, the British view him as big and powerful.The US WC pool is pretty tight now but 11 months or so is a long time. He used to remind me of the immortal baseball quote” million dollar arm, ten cent head” but now would be a good time to get hot and you never know. Good for EJ..

  3. If I was BB I would leave put where ever he’s playing. Let him, hopefully, play and thrive. If he’s still at that level when it’s time to name the WC squad….call him in.

    He doesn’t need to be in the Jan camp. He doesn’t need to play in meaningless qualifiers with our B team. He’s played with all the main guys before – Dempsey, LD, MB. At this point he’d be the guy off the bench anyway. Let him be “the surprise” inclusion provided he’s performing well at club level.

  4. Ryan – BTW, nice sales job to open 🙂

  5. Ryan – as always, great stuff.

    Could you shoot me an email? I had an idea I wanted to share with you. Thanks.


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