Steve Zakuani’s return highlights an emotional Sounders victory

There are moments when sports transcend the wins and losses on the field. We saw one of those Saturday night, as a 2-1Sounders FC victory over Colorado was overshadowed by the return of Steve Zakuani, who was playing in his first game in more than 14 months.

Zakuani’s return from a leg injury that was potentially career-threatening would have been special on any field against any opponent, but the fact that his return came at home, where 39,060 fans could give him a rousing ovation—“That’s the loudest I’ve ever heard a stadium. I’ve been playing 11 years of soccer and that’s the loudest I’ve ever heard a stadium,” Eddie Johnson said—and the fact that it was against the Rapids, and their forward Brian Mullan, the man whose reckless tackle broke Zakuani’s leg last year, made this a night to remember.

After the game was over, Zakuani and Mullan exchanged jerseys and a hug in a moment of class, one that provided a good deal of closure for both players.

“I’ve said from Day 1 that I have no issues with him and I had forgiven him a long time ago, but it was good to have that public moment for closure and now he can go on with his career and I can try to do the same with my career,” Zakuani said. “I have a long road ahead of me still in terms of playing consistently and consistently well, but that’s good; he takes my shirt home, I take his shirt home and that chapter is closed now.”

Zakuani only played a few minutes, and had little impact on the game, but this was nevertheless an important day for him in a recovery that still has a long ways to go. He is the first to admit that he is not back to where he was before the injury, when he was one of Seattle’s best attacking players, and Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said one option could be to send Zakuani out on a loan spell to get him more playing time, but on a memorable night at CenturyLink field, all of those realities took a back seat as a very cool moment took over what on its own merit would have been an entertaining game.

“Normally if I get three touches on the ball I’d be upset, but those were the best three touches of my life,” Zakuani said. “I was just happy to get out there and run. When Sigi called me and the fans saw me going over, the place became like a zoo. It’s amazing, it’s a moment I need to go home and watch on video just to see what really happened. It’s like a blur right now, but it was a feeling a feeling I can’t describe. All that hard work, multiple surgeries, the rehab, all of that came to a head at that moment and it was all worth it for that one moment.”

More in Sports

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Everett’s Dustin Wolf stops a shot Saturday night at the Angels of the Winds Arena in Everett on December 16, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Sivertips bounce back, rout Cougars 4-0

Dustin Wolf notches his first career shutout as Everett rebounds from a loss to beat Prince George.

How might NHL team in Seattle impact Silvertips?

A look at local reaction to the possibility of the NHL coming to Seattle.

Seahawks ditch ‘every game is the same’ mantra for Rams showdown

Seattle hosts first-place Los Angeles in what is essentially the NFC West championship game on Sunday.

Freshmen contributing for UW men’s basketball team

Mike Hopkins likes what he’s seen from his freshmen through… Continue reading

Saturday’s prep scores, recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Neah Bay 61, Darrington 55 Bellingham 77, Sultan 55 Interlake… Continue reading

Smalley resigns as Snohomish football coach

Kai Smalley has resigned his position as head coach of the Snohomish… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams inactives report

Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner will play, but his running partner K.J. Wright will not.

Saturday’s stars of the night

Peter Kim, Anthony Armad, Kamiak wrestling Kim and Armad, both seniors, helped… Continue reading

Most Read