May 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM
Lamar Neagle returns from suspension with dazzling performance in 4-0 win
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With no league goals in 272 minutes, Lamar Neagle hadn’t exactly been happy with his finishing this season coming into Sounders FC’s game against San Jose.
That was not an issue Saturday — not at all — as the 26-year-old forward ended up leaving the field with a crowd of 38,880 chanting his name.
Neagle scored twice in Seattle’s 4-0 rout of the Earthquakes, which was also his return from an automatic one-game suspension for getting a red card last week in Philadelphia. Having to sit out of a midweek win in Kansas City added a little fuel to the fire.
“Whenever that happens, you feel like you’ve let your teammates down a little bit and left them out to dry,” he said. “So coming back I had a lot of adrenaline and wanted to prove that I was supposed to be there.”
The Sounders’ big day started with Neagle, as he opened the scoring with a powerful volley in the 28th minute that powered through the gloves of goalkeeper Jon Busch. He added Seattle’s third in the 54th minute with a well-taken left-footed strike that skimmed off the post and in.
“He’s finding his confidence,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “He’s always been … one of those guys that’s a gamer. Sometimes at practice you sort of scratch your head and you say, ‘What’s going on?’ but then once he gets the opportunity in the games he performs well.”
Opportunities might become a bit more limited for Neagle moving forward. The team’s top forwards, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins, are getting healthier and undoubtedly Seattle’s first-choice pairing up front.
That might involve more time at midfield, or even on the bench, but Neagle is prepared for it.
“Having (Johnson and Martins) on the field is just going to be better for the team,” Neagle said. “These guys are amazing up top. They are experienced and veterans, so anything I can do to help the team, I’m there.”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t place for Neagle. Almost 40,000 were witness to that Saturday.
Asked if he could hear the chants, Neagle said, “I could definitely hear it. It reminded me of 2011 when I had the hat trick. I was hoping for the same thing. There is just something about these one o’clock games in the sun.”
— Neagle, when asked for his thoughts on the red card last week, said: “I put myself in a bad situation no matter what the ref calls. Pride gets in the way and, whatever, things happen. I put myself in a situation to get a red.”
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