In February of last year, Sounders FC traded midfielder Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact.
In January of this year, Montreal traded him back.
Neagle, a Jefferson High School graduate, said there were no hard feelings about the original trade, which sent him away from his native Western Washington. But he clearly welcomed the deal that brought him back.
“My family’s definitely super-pumped,” he said. “I’m happy to be home.”
Neagle said there will be no revenge factor Saturday when Seattle and Montreal open their Major League Soccer seasons at CenturyLink Field.
“No, not at all,” he said. “As soon as I was starting to leave they were all very professional and thanking me for my effort and everything I did on the field and off the field for them. There’s absolutely no grudge there.”
Neagle appeared in 23 games with the Impact, including 11 starts. He recorded two goals and two assists. One of the goals came in Montreal’s 4-1 win over the Sounders.
However, the Impact went 12-16-6 in its expansion season, and the Neagle deal was only one of its offseason moves.
Most notably, the club changed direction by bringing in a new coach – Marco Schallibaum of Switzerland.
“(They’re) trying to play much more of a possession-oriented style, much more similar to the way that New York played under Hans Backe – you can tell that European influence there,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “So we have to be prepared for that. They’re a team that will get nine guys behind the ball,”
Meanwhile, the Sounders were still busy with their own issues Thursday, as they went through their first CenturyLink Field training session of the season.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and defender Marc Burch are both out of the opener while serving league disciplinary suspensions. The availability of newly acquired midfielder Shalrie Joseph and central defender Djimi Traore remained undecided as they worked on fitness and familiarity with their new teammates.
On top of that, Schmid said his lineup decisions for Saturday also will factor in to the Sounders’ next match: a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match coming up next Wednesday at Tigres of Mexico.
The club also must get its roster in compliance for the start of the MLS season, even as it continues to work on a transfer agreement for striker Obafemi Martins from Spanish club Levante.
Amid all the uncertainty, Schmid said he is happy to have the versatile Neagle back in rave green.
“Any time you have local players on a team, that’s always a good inspiration for the other kids in the area,” Schmid said. “Lamar is a player who is a guy who can play either flank for us. He’s a guy who is exciting in the games. ...He knows what we expect from him.”Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt