With the offseason in full swing coming off a disappointing playoff exit in the Western Conference semifinals, the Seattle Sounders parted ways with a fan favorite this week after Monday’s announcement that Lamar Neagle was traded to D.C. United in exchange for allocation money.
The 28-year-old winger had his best year in Rave Green in 2014 when he finished with nine goals and nine assists in 32 appearances. He finished with four goals and two assists in 31 appearances in 2015.
Neagle has strong local ties to Seattle as a native of nearby Federal Way and is active in the community, a factor that Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said made the decision all the more difficult.
“Anytime you lose an asset like that from an organization it’s a big deal,” Lagerwey told the Tacoma News Tribune. “But ultimately we have to do what we feel is best for our soccer team, and we feel like we got an amount of money back that was a good value for Lamar.”
In a farewell statement on his personal website, Neagle expressed disappointment to be leaving his hometown club, but also said he’s looking forward to his move to D.C.
“I would have never imagined living in our nation’s capital,” Neagle wrote. “D.C. United has such a rich history, winning championships from the emergence of the league. I can’t wait to see what I can help add to that history.”
The move comes during an offseason in which both Lagerwey and minority owner Joe Roth have said the emphasis will be on complimenting the team's veteran core with a roster that is younger, faster and better equipped to withstand any hurdles that may arise from international absences or injury.
Attacking depth proved to be Seattle’s Achilles’ heel in 2015, as the Sounders floundered to a brutal scoreless drought after star forwards Clint Dempsey (suspension, national team duty) and Obafemi Martins (groin injury) were forced out of action for much of the summer.
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“Do we have better performance from that segment of our roster? We do,” said Lagerwey. “But I actually think Lamar and Chad in particular are both really good pros, really good people. Don’t have a bad word to say about them.
“It’s not about sending a message to them or anybody else, other than, hey, we’re trying to make our team better and we have to consider all avenues to do that.”