Lamar Neagle is an optimist, always seeing the glass half full. So when looking at his 2012 season with the Montreal Impact, he doesn’t see a statistically down year in which he was used in a different role than the one he thrived in for Sounders FC in 2011. He instead sees that year as an opportunity to grow individually and expand his game.
“It was another year to learn. Another year to get experiences,” said Neagle, who will be returning to Montreal for the first time since a 2013 trade landed him with Seattle for the third time in his professional career. “I’ve been doing that my entire time with places. I’ve been changing teams so much. It’s nice to get a different view of everything, get a different perspective of everything and I definitely played a different role on that team than I do now. It’s just adding to my versatility, I feel like.”
Upon his return to Seattle, Neagle exploded for eight goals and four assists last year and already he has picked up one assist in Seattle's first two matches of 2014, as he was credited the second assist on Clint Dempsey’s goal on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Toronto FC.
Now Sounders FC is preparing for its first road trip of 2014 and Neagle will be back in familiar territory when he faces the Impact on Saturday, though it will be at a less familiar venue, as the match will be at Olympic Stadium instead of the Impact’s home park at Saputo Stadium.
“It’s an older stadium, but it’s a great atmosphere,” Neagle said. “It’s a bigger field, but all of that is stuff that we have to adapt to.”
In the home locker room, Neagle will see some familiar faces, too, as 14 players remain from the 2012 roster.
“It’ll be cool seeing the guys that I used to play with and created relationships with over the course of a year. It was a very nice place. Montreal’s a beautiful place,” Neagle said. “It will be fun and hopefully we can make it even more fun and get a win.”
On the field, Neagle has played a solid role for Seattle early in the season, starting both matches and tallying an assist in his 165 minutes thus far. With Kenny Cooper, Marco Pappa and Sean Okoli available and Tristan Bowen on the path to return from injury soon, Sigi Schmid will have plenty of options available to him.
“It’s a battle for those positions and everybody brings something a little bit different,” Schmid said. “Sometimes it may depend on the opponent and what’s the right mix.”
Seattle will train on Tuesday and Wednesday before departing for Montreal on Thursday. The match is scheduled to start at 1 pm PT, with local television coverage on Q13 FOX.