DC's Lamar Neagle faces Sounders again, but in very different circumstances

WASHINGTON – As D.C. United winger Lamar Neagle considered whether he would celebrate if he scores a goal against his former Seattle Sounders side on Wednesday night, he could at least draw from experience.

“I don’t think so,” he said, laughing bashfully. “Not this time.”

Neagle and United welcome the Sounders to RFK Stadium on Wednesday night (8 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE), nearly four years since the Seattle-area native's only other matchup against the Rave Green, a game played in starkly different circumstances.

In 2012, a trade Neagle termed “out of the blue” landed him in Montreal, where he struggled to gain traction.

So when he scored one of his only two goals that season very late in a 4-1 June victory over the Sounders, he let the fist pumps fly.

“There was a lot of stuff built up,” explained Neagle. Watching the highlight sometime later, he was “a little bit embarrassed seeing it.”

By the next spring, he was back in Seattle for the first of three productive seasons. After falling out of favor late in 2015, his second departure was more of a “mutual decision,” he said.

“I’m definitely in a different place in my career,” said Neagle, who turned 29 on May 7. “There’s no hard feelings there. … I think everybody can kind of see that the dynamic of their team is a lot different than it’s been in the past. They have a lot [of] younger guys and then older, experienced guys. So for guys in the middle of their careers, it’s not really the place for them, it seems like.”

At D.C. United, who in recent years have consistently targeted longtime MLS players who are couple years either side of 30, Neagle has started every match on the wing while scoring two goals and adding three assists.

“He was a no-brainer when we saw that opportunity,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “And he’s been great.”

United haven’t won back-to-back games this season and haven't defeated the Sounders since 2011, though Wednesday may present quite the opportunity for both teams. The Sounders visit RFK Stadium sitting second from bottom in the Western Conference, having earned only one point from five previous away trips.

“Every team goes through it throughout the year. I think in the end they’ll be fine,” Neagle said. “I’ve paid attention. I know a lot of guys on the team. I’m friends with a lot of them. It’s always rough seeing your friends going through tough times. But I’m not wishing them any good come tomorrow.”