On September 27, 2014 Will Johnson's time with the Portland Timbers effectively ended. After colliding with Toronto FC's Mark Bloom, Johnson was rushed to hospital with a fractured tibia and fibula. That ended his season, and in the process meant the Portland Timbers learned how to play without him.
Johnson would only play 12 games for the club after that, and by the time they started their run to the 2015 MLS Cup the captain was not involved at all. That was part of the reason for a falling out he had with the organization, and why he is ready to refresh his career outside of Oregon.
As would only be sensible when such an experienced and proven MLS midfielder is available, several clubs are interested in acquiring Johnson. However, according to Ives Galarcep of Goal.com, Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire are the early favourites to acquire the Canadian international.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have also been in the conversation as well, but Johnson is reportedly more interested in East coast options at this time. Johnson's status will likely allow him to dictate where he would like to go within the league. Europe was also a rumour for a time, but his contract situation with the Timbers makes that unlikely.
He is still under contract with the Timbers, but has made it clear that he is ready for a fresh start. This means that if Toronto FC were to acquire him it would be in a trade, and one that could potentially cost them draft picks or even roster players.
Toronto, however, could end up being an attractive option for Johnson at this stage in his career. For one, it would mean playing alongside longtime friend Michael Bradley. Bradley was by Johnson's side in 2014 when he was stretchered off the field.
The American captain also has also been reported as having a seat at the table when it comes to club roster decisions, something that may or may not have changed with the arrival of Bill Manning as club president. Regardless, he is good at attracting friends to come play for the club, as he did with Jozy Altidore last off-season.
Playing for Canada would also be a lot easier for Johnson if he was with Toronto FC, something that hasn't always been easy for the midfielder. TFC would likely be a lot more understanding than clubs in the past of his national team ambitions.
Johnson would also be a good fit in Toronto, albeit an expensive one. The $334,333.33 he made in guaranteed compensation last year would certainly be a big purchase for Toronto FC. With the all but confirmed acquisition of Steven Beitashour and the strong possibility that the club signs Drew Moor they may have to move someone out.
It would also mean the club making good on their promise to have more of a Canadian identity. Johnson would almost certainly start in the Toronto midfield. Not only that, but he would be a perfect mentor for young Canadian players, chief among them Chris Mannella.
Where Johnson would fit tactically would be the biggest question, as he more than a box-to-box midfielder than a player who would ideally play behind Bradley. With that being said, Benoit Cheyrou wasn't exactly the best at holding midfielder either.
Whether or not Johnson ultimately ends up in Toronto will come down to a variety of factors, chief among them how much they are willing to give up for him. But the interest is there from both sides.