Lamar Neagle hasn’t scored a goal since May 7. So last week, when he found himself in space after taking a pass from Clint Dempsey, the thought of shooting must have been tempting.
But he didn’t. Neagle instead passed to Obafemi Martins, who recorded the second goal of the Seattle Sounders’ 4-2 win at Chivas USA.
“I’m thinking about the best way to score goals as I team,” Neagle said. “I’m not really thinking about myself scoring goals, whether I need to score a goal or not. I think I’ve always had that mentality, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench. It’s just something that was an easy choice for me.”
Neagle has five goals and six assists in 24 appearances and 20 starts this season. But he had found himself on the bench the previous three games as coach Sigi Schmid moved to a first-choice midfield of Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda and Marco Pappa.
For the Chivas match, Schmid made two changes. One was voluntary and one wasn’t, but both paid off. Evans got his assist while filling in for Pappa, who was away on international duty. And Andy Rose got two goals while Pineda took the night off before coming on for the final three minutes.
Neagle admits he hasn’t been at top form recently, although he said his confidence hasn’t waned. In any case, he was happy to get another start.
“I thought it could have been better defensively,” he said. “Not getting 90 minutes in a while, I think I was tired. Big field, a lot of play, a lot of running for the outside mids — I think I got tired quickly. But I got a good assist to Oba, he made a good run, and we got the win.”
Neagle could get another chance Friday, when the Sounders return to league play at home against Real Salt Lake. That is expected to be the final game Pappa will miss while away with the Guatemala national team for the Central American Cup.
“(RSL is) always toward the top,” Neagle said. “It’s always a good game between us. And I think we owe them, so we definitely want to come out and get another win at home before heading into a long stretch away.”
After the Salt Lake match the Sounders head out on a three-game trip, visiting Philadelphia in the U.S. Open Cup final before MLS matches at New York and Dallas.
General manager Adrian Hanauer said the Sounders are “looking at some opportunities” for personnel moves before MLS rosters freeze Sept. 15. … Hanauer also said the club is “still very much anticipating” operating a USL Pro developmental team in 2015, although no firm announcement has been made. … The Sounders will host a viewing party at the Market Arms Pub for their U.S. Open Cup final match 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16. The game will be played in the Philadelphia suburb of Chester, Pennsylvania, and shown on GolTV, which is not widely available in the South Sound. There also will be an audio stream on the Sounders’ website at soundersfc.com. … Sounders FC is holding a design contest for their 2015 season-ticket-holders’ scarf. More information on the viewing parties and the scarf is available at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer.