I am still in awe of the play of Lamar Neagle from last week. In that one game Neagle should both of his best qualities: pure talent and hustle.
His first goal was a thing of beauty. He had the space and he hammered home a loping shot that hit nothing but net.
Neagle’s second goal was all about work rate and hustle. He crashed the box and was stuffed by Rapids keeper Clint Irwin, but stayed with the play and luckily pounded home the deflection for his second goal on the night.
It’s hard to not like Lamar Neagle: local kid makes good. His story is so refreshing because it isn’t the easily marketable rags-to-riches trope we love so much in American sports. He was a local kid who worked hard and is now a starter on the home team. But he doesn’t have it made. He still has to hustle, and struggle to earn respect. He punches the clock and works hard just like the rest of us. How can you not love him?
Thing is, Lamar Neagle gets a lot of grief from a certain segment of Sounders fans. I know. Sometimes I am one of them. Just the other day I was wishing Neagle was more a third striker than everyday starting midfielder. Every time I convince myself that Neagle definitely hasn’t earned a permanent spot in the starting 11, he goes and has a wonderful game like Saturday’s. He had a solid game last week as well, but that start was more problematic, as he played striker against L.A.
We’ll probably keep questioning Neagle’s efficacy as a striker versus a mid. Sigi knows this opinion exists. In an attempt to dispel the narrative that Neagle only plays well as a striker, Sigi mentioned postgame that Neagle scored his brace against Colorado from his wide mid role.
Maybe we have been too quick to judge, as Neagle only regularly started playing in the midfield last season. It would be great if he was just now mastering the minutiae of the position and is set to break out.