Math isn't always in sync with soccer. For example, one MLS All-Star defender plus two MLS All-Star forwards does not equal automatic success for the New York Red Bulls this season.
The number three usually does pretty well, however. That number of course represents three goals in game. Or what everyone else calls it, a hat trick. (Fortunately for cleaning crews and security, no one throws their hats or expensive scarves out onto the field in celebration.)
Plenty of hat tricks have been tallied this year, from players such as Justin Braun, Steven Lenhart, and most recently Dwayne De Rosario, all of whom took home Goal.com's Player of the Week honors.
That pattern continues this week, as Seattle Sounders midfielder Lamar Neagle notched a hat trick against Columbus on Saturday, joining teammates Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales as fellow recipients of Goal.com's MLS Player of the Week honor.
In a match that saw Columbus forward Jeff Cunningham become Major League Soccer's all-time regular season leading scorer, the Sounders were the team doing most of the scoring. In fact, Neagle only scored half of his team's goals, making it not just an impressive feat for the player, but the highlighting the team's effort as well, as Seattle cruised to a 6-2 win.
Neagle certainly had some luck go his way, as his first goal was fortunate to hit the back of the net. After a quick throw-in, Neagle attempted to break away from the Crew's backline. As he inched closer to the net, Neagle booted one right to Columbus keeper William Hesmer. Fortunately for Neagle, Hesmer was unable to hold onto the ball, as they both watched it creep past the line for the first goal of the match.
After three more goals for Seattle, the onslaught continued, with Neagle providing the damage. In the 70th minute, Neagle had a one-on-one against Columbus defender Sebastian Miranda. Neagle broke to the right and clearly showed the intentions of leaving with a hat trick as he blasted one towards the upper right corner which just barely made it past the line. It did not take long for the referees to announce the goal for Seattle, and for the celebration to begin for Neagle.
This certainly was not a bad coming out party for Neagle, who prior to Saturday had never scored a goal at home at CenturyLink Field. The Washington native has had a bumpy road on his way to starting for Seattle. He first signed with the team in 2009, but was then released. He then played for the USL's Charleston Battery, along with a stint in Finland for IFK Mariehamn, before returning home with Seattle.
This long journey all added up for a proper homecoming on Saturday.
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