Seattle Sounders FC took a lead, lost a lead and then regained the lead on its way to a wild 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps before an announced crowd of 53,679 on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
Lamar Neagle of Federal Way figured in all three of Seattle’s goals — an assist, drawing a penalty kick, and then scoring the winner on his own.
“He’s playing well,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “Part of what he had to do today for us was defensively (help close down Vancouver’s Jun Marques Davidson). His running off the ball, his hold-up play tonight was pretty good — better than it’s been — his connection of passes as a result of that.
“He’s just done really, really well. He got the assist on the first goal on the ball he slips in to Andy Rose, and he scores. You can’t ask a lot more of a forward than that.”
In the ninth minute, Neagle slipped a pass through the Vancouver defense to Rose, who took the ball behind the Whitecaps’ defense and beat goalkeeper Brad Knighton to the far post to put the Sounders ahead, 1-0.
“I’ve said it before, but Lamar has been playing so well, he’s been doing such a good job dropping into that hole right behind the front man, and his vision and first touch have been incredible,” Rose said. “He turned and saw me running through, and when a
forward drops off like that, there is always a hole. The defender went with him, and I was able to get through that hole, take a good first touch and slot it.
“It’s really exciting to score, especially in front of a crowd like that.”
Vancouver equalized about a minute later and then moved ahead in the 26th minute — both times with Camilo heading in crosses from Russell Teibert.
“We sort of fell asleep right after we scored, which is a point in time when you can’t fall asleep,” Schmid said. “We took a goal, didn’t do a good job on set pieces. Set pieces were probably their most dangerous moments.
“I still thought we had a little more of the game in the run of play, but for sure we didn’t do well on the set pieces.”
Seattle pulled even after Neagle was knocked down in the penalty area. Servando Carrasco nailed the penalty kick in the 70th minute.
The game-winner came 11 minutes later.
Obafemi Martins slipped a pass in front of the Whitecaps’ goal, and Neagle ran on, finishing from close range.
“It was a good build-up play down the right side,” Neagle said. “I saw (Martins) one on one, so once he made his move toward the line to beat his guy, I knew I had to get in front of my defender, and it would be an easy pass right to the near post.”
The win moves Seattle (6-4-3) to the top of this season’s Cascadia Cup race at 1-0-1. Vancouver (4-5-4) falls to 0-1-1. Portland is at 0-0-2.
Seattle got its fifth win in its past six games once again using a makeshift lineup, with usual starters being unavailable because of injury, suspension and national team duty.
The Sounders’ midfield had a U.S. Open Cup flavor with Alex Caskey, Rose and Carrasco joining Mauro Rosales. But they made the most of their chances, with Rose and Carrasco providing two of Seattle’s three goals.
“I think we pride ourselves in the depth that we have here,” Carrasco said. “They know what their role is on the team, and nothing changes. I thought that Andy played really well. Guys came in and stepped up.”
Several of the missing Sounders are expected to be available again by the time Seattle returns to action June 22 at Real Salt Lake.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt