Johnson officially traded to Atlanta....and then traded again

The deal has been in place for at least a week now but it became official today, Sean Johnson has been traded to Atlanta United FC in exchange for General Allocation Money. The expansion side then dealt him in anticipation of signing USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who is returning to MLS this coming season.

Atlanta received General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money from New York City FC for Johnson, which is more than what Chicago received in the initial exchange but the Fire were looking to get him back to his hometown.

Sources indicate that the Fire were also interested in signing Guzan to replace Johnson but Atlanta decided to pursue him with their top allocation ranking after the trade with Chicago was consummated.

The Fire will now need to look elsewhere for another goalkeeper.






Filed under: 2016 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • So, we could have gotten more from NYC. Seems like we were played like saps.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    Could have gotten more for him from NYC but they wanted to honor his desire to play at home. This is more on Atlanta changing direction.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    It would have been one thing if Atlanta had pulled this as a surprise, but the move was reported earlier in the weekend. You yourself reported that you were hearing this was going to happen. We're we locked in somehow?

  • In reply to DDT5583: finalized before Atlanta decided they wanted Guzan.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Oh, well then, Atlanta can go auto-fornicate. Perhaps Brad Guzan can sympathize with a player cruelly denied the opportunity to play with his hometown club and the former club who got shafted while trying to do right by said player.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    With the way MLS plays loosely with its rules, why didn't Atlanta simply undo the deal once they decided that Guzan was their man and Johnson no longer was?

    I can kind of understand the "all's fair in love and war" approach when clubs are independent and in genuine competition with one another. But this is MLS, where every club is just a branch office of a single company. Atlanta could easily have stepped aside and let the Fire and NYC make their own deal for Johnson.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    We ARE saps!

  • So might be a silly question but could the Fire have received more for Johnson if they had traded him directly to NYCFC? Did Atlanta really just "pull a fast one" on NR? I have to assume he is not happy because it sounds like he got played.

    Best of luck to the Milkman. He and Nyarko have been my favorite Fire players. It is sad to see him leave.

    Lampson is terrible, and I believe how the GK situation has been handled by the new regime is the single aspect that deserves the most criticism by far out of anything they have done with the roster. Pauno benching SJ for Lampson, terrible. Not giving SJ the arm band when players have publicly stated he is the only big leader in the locker room, terrible. And finally, trading him "back to his home town" and he is immediately traded to NY, terrible. They can't even get the "getting rid of him" part right. I feel bad for Sean, and I hope he was at least communicated with before this went down.

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    Seems that both the Fire and Johnson got played. Doesn't say much about the ability of the Fire's front office or the ethics of the Alanta front office. They were somewhat deceitful in dealing with the Fire's willingness to accommodate Sean. No doubt a reflection of the ethical direction of the country where anything goes as long as you win regardless of honesty and integrity.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    You can't blame Atlanta though. They have no affiliation to Johnson. They are making moves to make their team better. We are doing the opposite of that. Sean wanting to go and NR wanting to get rid took away all negotiating ability. Especially knowing that Atlanta was/is going to get Guzan. Sean had to know that he was going to be number 2 or get moved again. NR played right into ATL's hands and they made a great move. Atlanta is better off right now than they were 12 hours ago and they didn't do anything. We are in far worse shape than we were 12 hours ago.

    You do not send people away without having a replacement already here. That is easy to understand. We are now probably looking around the league for some clubs backup keeper and are going to pay more than we got for Johnson. I didn't think this team could frustrate me anymore, but I was wrong.

    There is now only one player that I currently enjoy watching play the game and that is Matt Polster.

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    In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    In a way I do, the person I feel sorry for is Sean (unless not going to Atlanta wasn't that important) We don't know what was said to whom or what was understood between the two clubs. I can assume that the Fire believed that Sean would be staying with Atlanta prior to
    making the deal and Atlanta was aware of this and could have mis-led the Fire. However, I agree that not having a replacement on hand
    when making the deal is completely insane and indefensible. It's too
    bad the Fire got burned when trying to do the right thing.
    Finding a decent replacement for Sean shouldn't be that difficult the problem is at what cost.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    Sean is now going to a better team with ambition. He is now going to be training with better players, have a much better chance at winning things, and get away from this dumpster fire of a club.

    What I don't understand is why they want to move Johnson? He is one of the better keepers in the league. He is a fan favorite. He has been with the club for a long time. He is responsible for many points these past few seasons. HE IS ONLY 27! He could have/should have been our keeper for another 7 years. We are not only having to replace a top MLS keeper but also our leader.

    This team needs to be winning from day 1 this season. Pauno has, at the most, 10 games before I start calling for him to leave. We are so far away from being good, it is sad. I'm at the point now that I am not looking forward to a new season. This team has brought me no joy in 24 months.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I'm actually holding N-Rod more responsible for this team than Paunovic. N-Rod is the one with the process and who touts his 3 year championship program. This team going forward, now that Johnson is gone, is on N-Rod and Dear Leader Andy. No one else to blame now. Can't blame Leon, Klopas, Hamlett, or de los Cobos. This is all going to be on N-Rod and Andy if the Fire fail yet again this season.

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    In reply to penapirata:

    Yea, its kinda hard to believe NR plans to make the team better when they keep trading away the most valuable assets. Seems like no matter who it is, if another team shows interest in a player, they sell/trade. Side note: Looking back, anyone else surprised Hamlett has not been offered a head coaching position since? He had a very good team, but he took them to the eastern conference final and only lost on PKs...

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Yeah, he took a couple of really good Fire teams to the brink but couldn't get it done. It's always tough in situations like those - was it the coach's fault? Who knows. But he did a good job, if not reaching ultimate success - but you would have thought he would have received another chance. Maybe he's happy working as an asst and working a bit more in the background and not dealing with quite so much BS.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    We need a section 8 chant for Poly...

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    Any chance we can get zack mcmath??

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    In reply to Stephen Healy:

    That would make too much sense, so no. I'm hearing that Pauno and NR are scouting a guy from the Estonian 3rd division that might give Lampson a run for his money in the preseason. And by "preseason" I mean the first several games of the 2017 MLS season. Only bit of information I've been allowed to divulge is that you will indeed need to Google him to figure out anything about said player.

  • Just another fiasco by this FO and ownership. Tell me again why Shipp, and others were traded? Did anyone see how well Jeavon Jones played last night?

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    In reply to kaca:

    yea, Jovin Jones was an absolute steal for seattle and they even have publicly stated that they almost felt bad with how little they had to give Chicago to get him. I still maintain that that was the worst trade they made. Shipp was bad because of his ties to the city and fans, Nyarko was a fan favorite (at least mine anyway) but he asked to move, Jones on the other hand, just has raw talent and is already a national team veteran at a young age. Absolutely dangerous going forward and for those who say he cant the cup final.

  • In reply to kaca:

    As I remember reading, Pauno and Nelly sat Harry down and said it was nothing personal, that he didn't fit into their system and a move to the Impact would be a boost to his career (though Montreal apparently had the CAM situation covered; he DID start a few matches early on). It's a shame, he finished the season getting splinters on the bench, now THEY want to move him.

  • In reply to kaca:

    Sbipp was traded because he is not very good.

    So much so that Montreal left him unprotected for the expansion draft.

  • In reply to John Andre:

    Shipp is more creative than anyone on last years Fire squad and he's still green behind the ears.

  • In reply to kaca:

    My opinion is that Shipp would have been a worthwhile player on last year's Fire team, but I was actually on board with moving him. I rate him as an above average bench guy, but don't see him as a starter on a top end playoff team.

  • So how many spots do we need to upgrade and add depth to?

  • In reply to penapirata:


  • Sure gonna miss SJ, came to play every match - didn't do anything to lose his spot to begin with - AND he kept my fridge well-stocked with moo juice after most Fire home matches (back then, anyway - I suggested to Aldi they should throw in a bag of chocolate chip cookies if he snagged 5 saves! That woulda been sweet...). I hope Sean does super at City!

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    As much as I enjoy seeing Atlanta pull one over on NR, it was still a real dick move to Johnson and he deserved better. I will give the Chicago front office credit for once for actually having a heart and taking a lesser deal so Sean could go to his first choice franchise, but dont expect them to ever do it again after what has just transpired. We know how much NR hates being dooped and how petty he can get...wouldnt be surprised to see him try to do everything possible to screw up the Guzan to atlanta deal.

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    In reply to Carl Miller:

    So Middlesbrough dont seem to be looking for much of if any transfer fee for Guzan I am guessing if he is expected to be a TAM player (A transfer fee would likely bump him up into the DP range). So if thats the case, all a pissed off NR has to do is convince them to mutually terminate his contract before the 1st of the year and Chicago would still have top allocation spot to sign him. If they negotiate a higher salary that what Atlanta proposes, I think Guzan would go for it. It sounds like a far fetched scenario but you know NR would love to get back at Atlanta after this.

  • Guys could someone remind me why a guy with no successful record was named General manager of the Chicago Fire. What in the earth was Little Andy thinking when he named him the GM. Guillermo I was hoping that there would be something positvie announced today but it looks like things just never change. Do you gUys think that this team could be worse than last years team? If I was Accam I would pull a Magee and hold out for a better contract. That would put these idiots in the worse spot in the history of the team. Without Accam there is no real game breaker. He has them by the shorts. Remember do not buy tickets unless there is improvement in the team.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Accam's contract negotiations have been paused until after the season starts already. he's under contract through 2017 so he definitely doesn't have them by the shorts. I don't think they care right now if Accam pushes for more money, and I don't think he has shown himself as a true DP caliber player. There is also an option on his contract for 2018, so the Fire have Accam by the shorts for at least 2 more years.

  • In reply to edubs:

    I would add that Accam does not have anywhere near the leverage that Magee had, as he was coming off of an MVP season of 21 goals scored. Accam has 19 goals in his 2-year career in MLS.

    Even after the Fire sweetened Magee's deal, he was making roughly half of what Accam makes now.

    If Accam wants to hold out, let him. His productivity would make it very hard to argue that he actually deserves more money.

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    In reply to edubs:

    My money says Accam is the next player dealt (obviously for TAM/GAM). He arguably has the most league-wide appeal of any player on our roster as someone that can be a clear game changer. His stats have not been the best but on any team with an even decent roster he'd be an all-star. We all know hard it is for Nelly to say no when a player is inquired about and considering his track record for giving away a lot for a little I'm sure every GM in the league wants a run at him...

  • Guys one last thing I wish the first trade the team made was Nelson for anybody from the Atlanta organization. The Fire have offically 16 guys on the squad including arshakyan a total disaster that was recommended to the Fire from Paunos buddies. They must hate the guy. He could be the worst Fire player that I have ever seen don the badge.

  • For what it's worth, here's what Ives Galarcep had to say about the Johnson deal to ATL on

    "Johnson, an Atlanta native, was acquired by United from the Chicago Fire last month in a deal that has yet to be publicly announced because of the league's current transaction freeze, which will be lifted Sunday, the day after the MLS Cup final."

    So if you want to assume the least of the Fire FO, you discount this. But if you take their move at face value and think that they really were looking out for SJ, NR did the deal to allow SJ to have time to prepare for the move, etc, and it doesn't look quite as awful...

    There are plenty of other things that look awful at this point, though.

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    In reply to Modibo:

    So I keep hearing that ATL changed the trade after the deal was done but as far as I'm concerned, that in no way absolves our horrible ownership, management and head coach. ATL has been linked to Guzan for over a month now (as has CF97) and it sure looks like amateur hour when the guy we're attempting to get as our safety net has all but signed with ATL. So NR and CF97 had no idea that ATL and Guzan we're that close on a deal? They can't even do the right thing right... I am so tired of #CF97 being the laughing stock of the league. 

  • In reply to Joe Brancato:

    If Atlanta and Guzan kept it to themselves, how could the Fire have possibly known?

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    In reply to John Andre:

    But they didn't keep it to themselves because it was all over the Internet for the past month or two that both teams were pursuing Guzan... Also, most agents generally make it known to inquiring teams that other teams are indeed inquiring about said player as it ups their salary and transfer fees. I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that Nelly was indeed dumb enough to not have a clue about how close ATL was to a deal but this all just seems like a convenient coincidence for being able to justify yet another salary dump. I could be wrong but I absolutely do not trust AH or NR at all. About anything. Ever.

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  • In reply to Keith Woller:

    Don't believe it till it happens.

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    Maybe they have a plan.

  • I'll resist the urge to lambaste Fire ownership over this situation and just say here that Sean Johnson was one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal club over his seven years. Always showed up to play, didn't bad mouth his defenders and went along with any PR idea the club's hacks proposed for him (including schlepping to Aldi locations throughout Chicagoland to sign autographs). Sincerely wish him all the best in the Bronx.

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