Lamar Neagle's improvements just another step in journey

USA TODAY Sports

The Federal Way native added a few things to his arsenal to improve his play and capitalize on his opportunities. He's not done and knows what he wants to add next.

At some point this year Lamar Neagle is going to score 10 goals across all competitions. He may even get six assists. He will do this while not necessarily at an age where a player adds new skills and becomes more than they were over previous seasons, but he is doing exactly that.

Once upon a time Baseball Prospectus wrote that players don't add new skills, unless they do. Or something to that effect. It is a decent guide to scouting. Hot streaks are not indicative of new skills. Any player can go on a run. But Lamar is not just on a run with his three goals and two assists in MLS play. He is playing well.

Wednesday he indicated that some of that is related to confidence.

"I think having more time on the field is giving me more confidence," he said to a few members of the media. "Obviously it's helping me change as a player. When you're just practicing you're going through the motions and waiting for your chance, but when you are playing and playing well confidence is high."

Later though he told Sounder at Heart some of the specific skills he has added.

"I think my first touch has improved; my decision making on the field; I'm more confident and less hesitant so when I make a move I make it completely instead of holding back or thinking I should have done something else."

Like his touch to Obafemi Martins. A great first touch with a quick thought of doing something different.

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Maybe last year something different happens when he gets that pass.

"Maybe I would have held it up, or touch it back or keep it, but when you see Oba running in behind any defense you just got play it behind and let him do what he does."

Skills do not change, unless they do. Neagle is not the player he was during the attempted conversion to a fullback. He is not the sometime winger when he was dealt to Montreal. He is different. His touch is better. His shot is a little better. He beats men on the dribble, but not often enough in his own mind.

That is his next step.

"Next is just being a little bit more deadly in my one-on-one and do it on my own. Sometimes when you are up top you drift out wide and you get one-on-one and you need to create on your own."

Lamar Neagle is going to be better than most thought he was. Most of us will be happy to be wrong.

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