Seattle Sounders FC traded Lamar Neagle away from his hometown team Monday, the first day the Major League Soccer offseason trade window opened.
Neagle was sent to D.C. United for allocation money, which can be used to reduce the cost of player contracts against the league’s salary cap. He is a 28-year-old forward/midfielder from Federal Way, who played at Thomas Jefferson High School
“For sure it matters that he’s local,” general manager Garth Lagerwey said. “…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. Between the combination we got from clearing his salary and getting that further money as compensation, we felt that was a good healthy salary cap swing for us and one that we needed to make.”
Neagle said his public goodbyes on his lamarneagle.com website, praising the Sounders organization and thanking owner Adrian Hanauer and former players Taylor Graham and Roger Levesque, who are now in the front office. Coach Sigi Schmid and his staff were not mentioned.
“I want to thank the Seattle Sounders fans for their unwavering support,” he wrote. “You guys have made it easy to play for this club, both on and off the field.”
Neagle leaves tied for third in club history with 26 goals over 116 regular-season matches. He scored four goals and had two assists in 31 appearances last season, numbers that disappointed the club especially during its losing streak when starting forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were unavailable.
“Do we have better performance from that segment of our roster? We do,” Lagerwey said. “But I actually think Lamar and Chad (Barrett) 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.”
The Sounders’ declined their option on Barrett, making him a free agent.
Lagerwey indicated the Sounders could sit out MLS free agency, along with this week’s waiver and re-entry drafts.
“It’s possible you’ll see additions this calendar year, but more likely it’s probably January before the guys start trickling back onto the roster,” Lagerwey said. “We have 21 guys signed right now. … We feel like once you add a college draft pick, some of the other things we’re looking at, the roster’s going to get filled pretty quickly.”
Lagerwey also downplayed the likelihood of acquiring players through trade.
“In general, my philosophy is to acquire cash when possible,” he said. “In my opinion, we will usually spend cash more efficiently for our team than picking up a player from another team.”