SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders are making a habit out of this.
This season they’ve already bagged the largest comeback in MLS history – a wild 4-3 triumph over D.C. United on July 19 – as well as an assortment of additional late equalizers and game-winning goals. And the Sounders added another heart-pounding fixture to the list with their 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
This time it was Lamar Neagle playing the hero role with a dramatic leveler in the 84th minute, the first goal for the Seattle-area native since he was re-acquired for a fourth spell with the Sounders in an August trade with D.C.
“Making a difference at these times, I think that’s exactly why they brought me back,” Neagle told reporters after the game. “Obviously [getting on the field] is very tough when you have this caliber of guys on the team. So, I knew this was going to be my position and this is what I’m here for, so I’m just glad I can contribute.
“No matter where the team is, coming in halfway through the season, you want to be a guy that’s healthy and getting some minutes,” he added. “For me, gaining confidence in after the year I’ve had – obviously it was a slow year at D.C. United – so to come in here and recharge is nice.”
Neagle’s bail-out tally rescued Seattle from what would have been an exceedingly disappointing 1-0 home loss to a Galaxy squad that has struggled for much of 2017.
While head coach Brian Schmetzer said he was pleased with the moxie his side showed in getting the late leveler, he also pointed to a general lack of patience from his attackers over a stretch that has seen the Sounders post three straight 1-1 results.
“[Neagle’s goal] was much-needed because it salvaged a point,” said Schmetzer. “But we’ve got to figure out a way to be a little bit more goal-dangerous and have that last little bit of quality in the final third. Maybe even a little more patience. Sometimes we get rushed, we’re always rushing to try and score right away when maybe a little more patient build-up, side-to-side makes the gaps a little bit bigger.”
Seattle sustained two big losses in the match. Forward Jordan Morris left in the 61st minute with a hamstring injury that Schmetzer said will be reevaluated on Monday, and center back Roman Torres got controversially red-carded by referee Drew Fischer in the 89th minute for a tackle on Galaxy midfielder Jermaine Jones.
“These games are all getting towards playoff intensity because there’s six games left,” Schmetzer said. “The game got a little chippy and we could have had a little bit more composure. But again, I like the fight of the team. I think the fight of that team is what has gotten us to 12 games without a loss.
“There’s a lot of positives you can take out of the game and there’s certainly some negatives. We have to be realistic and we need to keep our composure in these types of games. We can’t control the refereeing, so we have to make sure we’re concentrated and focused at all times to make sure we can play well and starting winning these games.”