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Sunday, May 12, 2013 - Page updated at 07:00 p.m.
Neagle enjoys day in the sun, scoring twice
By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times staff reporter
The chants that echoed throughout CenturyLink Field sounded familiar. The setting, too.
So when Sounders FC forward Lamar Neagle, amid a two-goal performance in Saturday's 4-0 win over San Jose, heard the fans screaming his name, it brought back a special memory.
"It reminded me of 2011 when I had the hat trick," said Neagle, referencing a career game against Columbus two years ago. "I was hoping for the same thing. There is just something about these 1 o'clock games in the sun."
And on a crystal-clear Seattle day, Neagle shined brightest. The Federal Way native scored on a powerful volley (28th minute) and a precision strike off the post (54th) to lead the way in a Sounders rout and get his team to .500 for the first time this season.
He had a little extra motivation, as well, having to sit out Wednesday's game against Kansas City after an ejection last week in Philadelphia.
"Whenever that happens, you feel like you've let your teammates down a little bit and left them out to dry," Neagle said. "So coming back I had a lot of adrenaline and wanted to prove that I was supposed to be there."
Neagle's three goals in all competitions, including the CONCACAF Champions League, are tied with Eddie Johnson for the team high.
"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."
With Johnson and Obafemi Martins, the Sounders' top two forwards, getting healthy again, Neagle understands his role might change.
"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."
Sounders FC's defensive effort could easily be overlooked after a four-goal bonanza, but the team has recorded shutouts in four of the past five games.
It has also been 219 minutes since Seattle has allowed a goal. The team recently had a 285-minute shutout streak, third-longest in MLS this season.
"It feels good to have shutouts — that's all we work for, especially in defense," said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. "We will never forget it's just a result of tough work."
• Sounders FC next hosts league-leading FC Dallas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
• Seattle is playing an MLS Reserve League game at 4 p.m. Sunday against Orlando City SC of the third-tier USL PRO. Tacoma's Cheney Stadium will serve as the venue as the Sounders look to test the market for a potential lower-league affiliate club. Moms get in free on Mother's Day if accompanied by a child.
• Mauro Rosales' goal just before halftime was Seattle's first that came directly off a free kick since July 10, 2011, a 3-2 win at Portland.
• Goalkeeper Josh Ford is expected to miss four to six months after undergoing knee surgery.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter: @joshuamayers
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