Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fulham still Talking with Eddie Johnson

Kansas City Wizards striker and USA international Eddie Johnson is in talks with Fulham FC to join the 19th place Cottagers as they seek a way out of the relegation zone. Johnson, who left the US National Team Training camp over the weekend, may be Fulham Manager Roy Hodgson's second choice (first choice striker Marlon King was not transferred by Champisonship side Watford, who are on the verge of promotion to the Premiership). Johnson would be the Fifth U.S. international to join the cottagers.

At age 23 and near the top of the scoring leaders for the MLS in recent years, Johnson probably needs to move to Europe to improve his game. Althought Derby County were interested in Johnson last summer, he decided to stay put in the MLS. But to deny the move this time around may put Johnson off the international market absent two things--a break out year in the MLS, which would mean at least 20-25 goals during the season and a series of great performances in international matches, including a fair amount of scoring. The problem is that Johnson often looks uncomfortable up top in the U.S. formations, although he is more confident in MLS matches. A transfer to Fulham would give Johnson more exposure to high level play and international caliber defenders.

Fulham is eying a return to playing form of Brian McBride (who has been training with Fulham's First team). McBride may see action with the Reserves soon. With a player of McBride's height up front, with Johnson's speed and Clint Dempsey's scrappiness, you could see some more scoring from the Whites.

Now if Hodgson could only get his defense to hold on to a lead that Fulham almost always gets early in teh game, the team would be sitting much higher than 19th in the League table. In fact, had Fulham been able to hold on to their halftime leads, the club would have 9 wins, 10 draws and only 3 losses, for a total of 37 points. But instead, Fulham have dropped 22 total points in their 22 games leaving them with a record of 2 wins, 9 draws and 11 loses, a total of 15 points, five points shy of the safety zone and just 8 points above relegation bait Derby County.

To win, Hodgson nees more goal scoring and much better defense.

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