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Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer says Eddie Johnson no distraction

Eddie Johnson celebrates 2

Seattle Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer says forward Eddie Johnson is no distraction. Nothing to see here, folks … just move along.

Further, he agrees that Seattle’s U.S. international is underpaid, that he is a “super emotional guy” and that Saturday’s “Pay me!” celebration is okie-dokie with him. The club did, after all, win the match in Columbus on Eddie Johnson’s goal.

So there you go. The Sounders are 3-1-0 since Clint Dempsey’s arrival, even more impressive when considering that three of those matches were on the road.

Still, this will be an ongoing story – and it will be a building pressure point on the club until a resolution is reached. It’s all about Johnson, 29, seeking a new deal with the club; his current agreement expires this year.

(MORE: MLS Week in Review for Round 27)

Johnson’s $150,000 salary is a fraction of Dempsey’s deal, which is close to $5 million a year. Then there is Obafemi Martins, who is making $1.7 million and has season totals almost identical to Johnson’s.

It’s not just a matter of Johnson’s worth to the club, of course. As with all these deals, it is where Johnson can wedged into a tight salary cap.

Before you read what Hanauer told Don Ruiz of The News Tribune, consider that Johnson’s case looks tailor made for these recently created MLS retention funds. Thing is, the amount allocated to each team is unknown (probably somewhere in the $300,000 neighborhood) and Seattle has already used a portion of its fund on Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.

Hmmm. That’s not looking like such a great move now; Kennedy is an average MLS center back. At any rate here is what Hanauer said:

I’ve said it before: Eddie is underpaid at this point, and we’ll address that behind closed doors. For me as long as those sorts of things aren’t getting in the way of us winning a championship, I could really care less. When it becomes a distraction to the team, then it’s an issue with me. But for now, we picked up a great win, Eddie was a huge part of it, he was great with his teammates, so for me it’s not an issue. A little controversy, a little interesting flavor to some of our games isn’t always a bad thing.”

(MORE: A little more on those secretive MLS retention funds)