SEATTLE - It was a record-setting afternoon and a local boy was right in the middle of it for the Sounders FC.
Federal Way native Lamar Neagle scored the second hat trick in club history and Mauro Rosales had a goal and two assists as the Sounders blasted the Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew 6-2 at CenturyLink Field.
“We got off to a good start. Then we were able to parlay that and score more goals after that,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “With the amount of games we’re playing, to be able to come out and score six goals against the Eastern Division leader I think is something that the team’s got to be very proud of.”
Neagle had three hard-struck goals to collect his first career hat trick and move into third on the team with five goals, even with Rosales who scored on a penalty in the 16th minute.
“He keeps working hard. He’s working on his first touch, which is something that’s helping his game come along,” Schmid said. “He’s got to be a very happy young man.”
The scoring onslaught started in the fourth minute when Mike Fucito threaded a ball to Neagle up the left side. Neagle held off Rich Balchan and hammered a shot toward the far post. Columbus goalkeeper William Hesmer got his glove to it, but couldn’t get enough of the ball to keep it from rolling into the net for a goal.
In the 16th minute, Seattle again attacked up the left side and earned a penalty when Fucito moved around Balchan on a throw-in and Balchan was called for a handball in the box. Rosales stepped to the spot and scored his fifth goal of the season to start another tremendous performance by the Argentine midfielder.
Neagle notched his second goal in the 21st minute when Rosales rolled the ball to the right corner where James Riley chased it down and crossed it to Neagle at the far post for a crushed side-winding volley that beat Hesmer for a 3-0 lead.
Fucito added another goal in the 40th minute, hustling in the box and muscling his way around Chad Marshall to score his first goal in MLS play since April 2010 when he scored a game-winner against Kansas City, and Seattle went into the half with a 4-0 lead.
While Seattle kept the pressure on, Columbus was able to sneak back into the game when Emilio Renteria earned a penalty when he was brought down in the box. Jeff Cunningham put away the penalty in the 59th minute, passing Jaime Moreno to become the all-time leading scorer in MLS history with 134 career goals, and narrowed the Seattle lead to 4-1.
However, Neagle wasn’t done with his heroics.
In the 70th minute he shot the ball practically through the crossbar from the top of the box and the ball caromed across the goal line before springing back into the field of play. The referee’s assistant was quick to signal a goal, though, and Neagle joined Blaise Nkufo as the only Sounders to score hat tricks.
“Most of the game I was crossing my left and I wasn’t cutting in and then finally he was kind of seeing that and he was cutting off the line so I cut in and had some space and hit it,” said Neagle, who scored for the first time at CenturyLink Field. “It’s great. Finally scored in front of family.”
After Josh Gardner scored direct from a free kick in the 73rd minute, Neagle dipped a cross in from the left side and Gardner redirected it in for an own-goal for the final 6-2 margin in the 74th minute.
“We haven’t had a game like this where we get off to a good start in a while. It’s usually the other way around, where we kind of have to dig ourselves out of a hole, so it was nice,” Neagle said. “We were kind of connecting at the beginning and just throughout the whole game we were all kind of on the same page offensively and defensively for the most part.”
The win moves the Sounders to within three points of the MLS-leading LA Galaxy at 13-5-9 (48 points) and also match their point total from last season. The Crew, meanwhile, drop to 11-8-7 (40 points), but remain atop the Eastern Conference.
Sounders FC - Lamar Neagle (Mike Fucito) 4; Mauro Rosales (PK) 16; Lamar Neagle (James Riley, Mauro Rosales) 21; Mike Fucito (Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero) 40; Lamar Neagle (Osvaldo Alonso) 70; own goal (Josh Gardner) 74.
Crew - Jeff Cunningham (PK) 59; Josh Gardner 73.
Sounders FC - Jeff Parke (caution) 73; Zach Scott (caution) 81.
Crew - Kevin Burns (caution) 64.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke (Zach Scott 75), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales (Alvaro Fernandez 71), Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle, Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua 78), Fredy Montero.
Crew - William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Rich Balchan, Chad Marshall, Josh Gardner, Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers, Dilly Duka (Jeff Cunningham 56), Andres Mendoza (Tommy Heinemann 56), Emilio Renteria (Justin Meram 76).