The Sounders are stacked with high profile attacking options but for me it has been the local kid from the 253 who has been the most influential this season. I am not claiming Lamar Neagle is a better player than Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, or Eddie Johnson but his contributions this season have been exceeded by none.
Neagle has made major contributions in 12 of the Sounders 15 wins and 2 of the 4 draws. This means Neagle has been instrumental in 38 of the Sounders 49 points. Of additional note Neagle only started in 4 of the Sounders 8 losses. Here is a game-by-game breakdown of Neagle’s impact over the season.
April 13th Neagle put in a man of the match performance in a 0-0 home draw with New England.
April 20th Neagle started the play which led to the only goal in a tight 1-0 road win in Colorado.
May 11th Neagle netted 2 goals including the game winner in the 4-0 rout of San Jose at the CLink.
May 18th Neagle picked up a goal and a game winning assist in the 4-2 home win over Dallas.
June 1st Neagle provided the game winning assist in a 2-0 road win over Chivas.
June 8th Neagle claimed all the spoils with an assist and the game winning goal in the 3-2 comeback victory at home against Vancouver.
July 20th Neagle spun and hit the post on a shot which deflected back to Yedlin who took two attempts to finish the goal thus eliminating Neagle’s assist. The goal was to earn a 1-1 home draw against a resilient Colorado team.
July 28th Neagle scored another game winning goal in a 2-1 home win over Chivas.
August 3rd Neagle created several great chances from the wing and drew the penalty for the 3rd goal in the 3-0 home win against Dallas.
August 10th Neagle forced what turned out to be a game winning own goal in the 2-1 victory up in Toronto.
August 31st Neagle may not have scored but he had one of his most impressive performances of the season playing left back in Columbus after Leo Gonzalez was sent off. The Sounders went on to win 1-0.
September 4th Neagle chimed in with his 2nd game winning goal of the season against Chivas in a 1-0 home win.
September 7th Neagle scored a goal and assisted Zach Scott in forcing a game winning own goal in the 2-1 win over Chicago at home.
September 13th Neagle scored his 8th goal of the season in the 2-0 win over RSL in front of a huge home crowd to take the Sounders top of the table.
Neagle has scored 4 game winning goals, has 2 game winning assists, has forced a game winning own goal, and played admirably at left back to secure a win in Columbus. Martins has 5 game winning goals but only 2 came in close games. Neagle has 3 game winners in games won by one goal and the other came in a 4-0 win in which he had 2 goals.
Neagle provides the Sounders with more than just numbers. Neagle is the definition of a team player and no matter where Sigi puts him on the field he is going to give 100%. Neagle may not be the most technically gifted player but he more than makes up for it with heart and determination.
Each season Neagle has improved on the little things and this season the Sounders are reaping the benefits of a player determined to succeed at any cost. Without question Neagle has been the Sounders MVP to this point in the season and hopefully he continues to contribute and gets the recognition he deserves.