Apr 9, 2013; Torreon, MEXICO; Seattle Sounders player Eddie Johnson (right) chases Santos Laguna player Aaron Galindo during the match at Estadio Corona. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Sierra/EFE via USA TODAY Sports

Do the Sounders Force an Eddie Johnson vs. Herculez Gomez debate?

Yesterday, or maybe one day this past week, I tweeted out the thought that it’s not about finding Herculez Gomez a place on the field or in the line-up. Between him, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins there is plenty of room to try and make things work especially if you were to move Gomez out wide similarly to what he’s done with the National Team recently. Maybe, you even work in some rotation where guys cycle in-and-out up top. I don’t know– what I do know is that trying to find time for goal scorers is a #FirstWorldProblem.

You know what could be a problem? Money. See, there is a thing in MLS that doesn’t exist in other places in the world and that’s a hard salary cap. Sure, overseas there is the whole Financial Fair Play that comes into account with a lot of the top tier teams, but this isn’t Europe. We have a hard cap and while it’s kind of up in the air as to where the budget is for us supporters. The truth is that Sounders already went through a rough time this off-season trying to keep a core together while supplementing new pieces.

Bringing in Gomez, by all accounts, is do-able for the front office. But, it may require some tough choices down the road or even immediately. One of those sacrifices could potentially end up being Eddie Johnson. I know that a lot of Seattle has come to love the Man. He’s really grown to become a mature and fun player to watch up top. Unfortunately we don’t get to see as much of him as we would like due to his various hamstring and battered array of leg problems.

Last year, out of a possible 3,040 possible minutes, he managed 2,378 that while a little bit low is actually quiet good and started 24 out of 34 games. Missing a big chunk at the beginning of the season and then some one’s and two’s as the season progressed.

The problem is already he’s missed 3 games this season and has been on the pitch just over half of the the total available minutes by a Sounder striker, not even accounting for the missed CCL matches. That’s a bit of time, and it takes it’s toll on the team when you don’t have a Fredy Montero there to supplement the production.

The flip side of that equation Herculez Gomez has participated in 94 out of a possible 118 matches since joining Liga MX. Though I have yet to quite find many–or really any–mentions of injuries and most, if not all, of his missed minutes are attributed to non-selections by the manager. Meaning that Gomez very possibly could have started upwards of 90 to 100% of games all his games, split between Santos Laguna, Estudiantes Tecos, Pachuca and Puebla.

Jeremiah Oshan talked last week about the one of the biggest and underratted things about Fredy Montero was his consistency over his four years. Now that we have Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson we are dealing with two guys who, while having big upside, are prone to having injuries. Even Aaron Campeau this past year talked about it in reference to Mauro Rosales and the fact that signing players who are injury riddled can be related to a specific skill or lack there of.

So…obviously having Herc around is going to improve support for the time that is missed not really just by Eddie Johnson but also Obafemi Martins, even though he’s not the real subject of discussion here. But the amount of money that is owed him is going to be rather substantial. As I said in  a previous article the brother is going to get paid.

The question could become a matter of do you keep Eddie Johnson this off-season or sign a more dependable striker to pair with Obafemi Martins. I would love both–who wouldn’t? But with cash flow being so tight I’m not sure it’s all that practical at this time.

Eddie Johnson already has had speculation on whether or not he’ll have a long term contract and with him finally getting healthy this week maybe he’ll prove himself worthy of such discussion. I am not sure where this is headed but there are a lot of angles to take on this type of story.

Tags: Eddie Johnson Hérculez Gómez Obafemi Martins