Friday, September 2, 2011

Battery Standout Makes Name for Himself in MLS

There are good games.  There are great games.  And if you're lucky, you may happen to witness some dazzling jewel of a football spectacle.  Last Saturday at Centurylink Field in Seattle, there occurred such a match.  By the billing alone, it was destined to be an incredible 90 minutes as Eastern Conference leaders the Columbus Crew looked to upset the streaking Seattle Sounders, one of this season's west coast powerhouse sides.  History was not in Columbus's favor and by the end of the afternoon, fans and pundits alike would be overawed with the glut of goals and shattered records.

Things began quickly for the hosts as the former Charleston Battery striker and USL-2 League MVP Lamar Neagle made the most of a quick throw in, jetting past the Columbus defense.  With barely three minutes off the clock, Neagle fired an honest, powerful shot that proved too much for the grasp of William Hesmer, the Crew goaltender.  An already rampant Emerald City crowd were given more cause for celebration as Mauro Rosales tacked on another in the 16th.  The goal resulted from an unlucky penalty decision against Columbus's Balchan who had already had a bad day.  Five minutes later Neagle bagged his brace as the hometown hero executed a skillful volley from a long cross.  It had been all Rave Green up to this point...and the trend would continue.  On the forty minute mark, Mike Fucito netted his first of the season and Seattle broke the MLS record for first half goals scored, ending an almost perfect 45 minutes.
Triumphant Sounders Trounce Columbus
Things began to look just a little better for the visitors in the second half...but only just.  Another penalty decision gave Jeff Cunningham opportunity and he converted to break yet another MLS record.  With the goal, Cunningham now has 134 in his MLS career, passing Jaime Moreno of DC United.  Assuming the black and gold had reason to celebrate, Neagle's hat-trick in the 70th demolished that notion.  Unequivocally his best goal of the day, an inspired shot from distance punished the crossbar, touched just past the line, and then soared back out of the net.  The lad had just marched into the history books with nearly 37,000 fans chanting his name.  Three minutes later, the Crew would score from a free kick just outside the box and in bizarre irony Josh Gardner would negate his own strike with an own goal less than a minute later.  Ending 6-2, the game proved a picture perfect example of the thrill and tradition of Major League Soccer.  So ended a historic day for the Emerald City and a superlative display by the unstoppable Sounders.
Congrats Lamar!!

It was a fantastic day for the Seattle Sounders, a feather in the cap of Major League Soccer, and career day and world class performance for Lamar Neagle.  The young forward began the season fighting for a roster spot and has continued to impress and grow throughout the season.  Number 27 has started 9 games and appeared in 21, logging 869 minutes this season in all competitions.  Neagle has scored six goals and registered one assist.  The match was certainly Seattle's brightest of the season so far.  Pushing for another record, the Sounders will appear in the US Open Cup Final against the Chicago Fire on Tuesday October 4th.  Should they win, they will be the first team to win the USOC three years on the bounce.

We Battery Fans congratulate Lamar on a fantastic day and an incredible achievement, wishing the best from the Palmetto State.

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