Seattle Sounders explode for Victory over Columbus Crew

SEATTLE – Lamar Neagle figures he’s now up to speed in MLS.

The Seattle forward proved it by scoring his first career hat trick on a record-setting day as the Sounders beat the Columbus Crew 6-2 on Saturday.

Neagle scored twice during a four-goal first-half for the Sounders (13-5-9) and completed the hat trick in the 70th minute when a shot from the top of the penalty area bounced off the crossbar and dropped behind the goal line.

“The level was a bit too fast for me in 2009,” Neagle said of his first brief stint with the Sounders. “Going down to Charleston (of the USL second division) really helped me out.”

Added Sounders coach Sigi Schmid: “He’s working on his first touch, which is something that is helping his game come along. His first goal was a little bit fortunate. The second one was clinical, and on his third one, he loves cutting inside and hitting that.”

Seattle’s offensive outburst overshadowed what also became a record-breaking day for Columbus’ Jeff Cunningham. The Crew forward became the leading goal-scorer in MLS history when he converted a penalty kick in the 59th minute. That was his 134th goal, eclipsing the previous mark set by Jaime Moreno in a 15-year league career, 14 of which were spent with D.C. United.

“I’m going to keep this ball for the rest of my life,” Cunningham said. “I’m very humbled of Jaime Moreno, Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, and all of those guys. The list goes on, and I’m just honored to be grouped with those guys.”

Columbus (11-8-7) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Neagle’s strikes in the fourth and 21st minutes were sandwiched around a penalty kick by Mauro Rosales in the 16th minute.

Mike Fucito made it 4-0 in the 40th minute, giving the Sounders their first four-goal half. The six goals for the game were a team record, breaking the mark of four.

“We haven’t had a game like this where we’ve gotten off to a good start in a while. Usually, it’s the other way around where we have to kind of dig ourselves out of a hole,” Neagle said. “It was nice that we were connecting at the beginning and throughout the whole game. We were all on the same page offensively and defensively for the most part, except toward the end.”

White has 2nd operation

Sounders forward O’Brian White has had a second surgery on his left leg to repair an arterial blockage.

The team said he had the surgery on Wednesday. He is expected to remain hospitalized for several days and will be out indefinitely. His first surgery was April 27 to remove a blood clot from that leg.

White, of Jamaica, has not played since earning an assist on the only goal of the game in the Sounders’ 1-0 win at Colorado on April 22. White came off the disabled list on July 12, playing sparingly in two matches.

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