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Originally published September 6, 2011 at 8:44 PM | Page modified September 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Sharing the wealth: 14 Sounders score 42 goals

A couple days after midfielder Lamar Neagle scored a dazzling hat trick in his sixth MLS start, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was asked about having a rare luxury.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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TUKWILA — A couple days after midfielder Lamar Neagle scored a dazzling hat trick in his sixth MLS start, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was asked about having a rare luxury. Another game had passed. Another win had been earned. Another hero had stepped up.

A team that for two-plus seasons often struggled with finishing and offensive consistency suddenly has too many goal-scorers.

Was the lineup getting too crowded?

Schmid was unable to hold back a smile — a familiar sight during Seattle's widespread success across three competitions.

"It's always good when things are crowded," he said.

Fourteen different players have combined to score a MLS-leading 42 goals for the Sounders this season, but no player has more than six — a high mark that's shared by designated players Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez, but doesn't crack the top 20 in the league.

While the balanced attack has prevented much individual glory, players are embracing the winning formula. The comfort of having several attacking options has allowed Schmid to shuffle the lineup throughout a busy summer with no ill effect and has perhaps made Sounders FC the league's most difficult team to defend.

"Regardless of who it is, someone is always stepping up," said forward Roger Levesque.

Almost each win in August was led by a different Sounder. Schmid called it the best month in franchise history when they went 7-0-1 between MLS games, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League play.

Montero was the star in the most recent game, last week's U.S. Open Cup semifinal against FC Dallas, netting the only goal in spectacular fashion.

Neagle, a Federal Way native, stole the show just a few days earlier with three goals in a record-breaking 6-2 rout of Columbus.

The game before, Fernandez produced the memorable strike in a historic 1-0 win in Monterrey, Mexico, and midfielder Mauro Rosales — a leading candidate for MLS Newcomer of the Year — scored the game-winner on the road in Dallas three days prior.

Elsewhere, forwards Mike Fucito and Nate Jaqua led Sounders FC to CONCACAF Champions League wins against Comunicaciones of Guatemala and San Francisco FC of Panama, respectively.

The Sounders share glory as well as they share the ball, it seems, but there's also credit to go around. Schmid has consistently maneuvered the roster in a way that has not only produced wins but kept players fresh.

General manager Adrian Hanauer called Schmid's management "ridiculously brilliant."

"I've said it before, there's a reason he has 150 some-odd wins," Hanauer said. "He gets a lot out of the players. ... That's what I love about Sig, he's got a group he believes in, they believe in the system and everybody works together for the common goal."

NOTE

• Sounders FC goalkeeper Terry Boss suffered a concussion last week, his second in two months, while with the Puerto Rican national team. The 30-year-old returned to Seattle on Monday and will be evaluated by team doctors.

Schmid said Boss, who also suffered a concussion in a July 20 exhibition against Manchester United, will likely miss Saturday's game against Real Salt Lake and could be out longer.

"For sure it's a thing that could threaten the rest of the season," said Schmid.

With Boss' status uncertain and the MLS roster freeze approaching on Sept. 15, Schmid said the team is discussing whether it needs to make a signing or use a league-pool goalkeeper for the remainder of the season.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

Balanced
Sounders FC leads MLS with 42 goals but doesn't have a player ranked in the league's top 20 in scoring.
Player Goals
Fredy Montero 6
Alvaro Fernandez 6
Mauro Rosales 5
Lamar Neagle 5
Better wth age
Sounders FC's goals-per-game average has increased each season (in the last 10 games this season the average has increased to 2.3).
Year Avg
2009 1.27
2010 1.30
2011 1.56

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