Just hours after Major League Soccer’s 2016 campaign came to a thunderous close off the foot of Seattle’s Roman Torres, the offseason leaped into high gear in the Five Boroughs.
As we portended yesterday based on a Goal.com report, NYCFC and 2017 expansion side Atlanta United have agreed on terms to bring goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the Five Boroughs in exchange for general and targeted allocation funds.
As gaffer Patrick Vieira told NYCFC.com on the occasion:
"I'm really pleased that we have added Sean to our roster for 2017. Competition for places in our squad is important across every position and we believe we've signed a goalkeeper with a huge amount of experience in this league, with his best years still ahead.
“I'm really looking forward to working with him when we return for training after the holidays."
The Georgia-born Johnson had plied his trade for the Chicago Fire since 2010, making 176 appearances. He has five caps for the United States to his name dating back to 2011.
Atlanta United had picked up Johnson only to find him surplus to requirements amid a rumored pursuit of another U.S. international keeper, Middlesborough’s Brad Guzan.
NYCFC sporting director, himself a former USMNT player, had this to say:
“Sean has been one of the best goalkeepers in MLS over the last 5 years and has also spent time with the US National Team. He is an athletic, commanding goalkeeper who is entering the peak of his career and we are excited to have him join our club.”
As for how Johnson fits in with Vieira’s preferred build-from-the-back playing style, we will choose to hold our tongues. We have no idea how the player will mesh with New York City’s back line and deep midfield— in fact, we don’t even know who will line up in those positions in 2017, what with so many departures and retirements to address during the transfer period. In the meantime, here’s what our friends at Chicago Fire blog Hot Time in Old Town volunteered:
@hudsonriverblue @True_blue_ny Below-average on his best day. Not comfortable making decisions w/ball at his feet. Good throw, though— Hot Time In Old Town (@HotTimeOldTown) December 10, 2016
With this in mind, expect a spirited competition between SeanJohn and the rangy Eirik Johansen for the NYCFC number-one. But until then: WELCOME TO THE FIVE BOROUGHS, SEAN!