Here’s some of what Steve Zakuani had to say tonight after playing 45 minutes in the Sounders 2-1 Reserve League loss to Vancouver:
“It was OK,” he said. “Forty-five minutes felt like 90 minutes, but it was good.”
More on how he felt) I was just happy. Every completed pass felt great. Every time I was able to run and turn I felt good. I was just happy to be out there. I think I should have scored, but I will take that. A year ago I would have given anything to miss a shot. So I will take that for now. I think tonight was about getting out there, getting through it, taking the next step in my recovery, rather than performance. But I think I was OK. I think I did some stuff that I didn’t think I could do, and I think I’ve got a long way to some in some ways. But I think I’m at a good place, and I felt good.
On taking hard tackles) I wasn’t really worried about that. I feel sore now, but I think that was always going to happen, so that’s OK. That’s part of the game. I’ve had some in traingin, and I’ve had one in a game now. I’m not really worried about that. I’m not really worried about re-doing the injury. It’s about building my fitness and building my sharpness and getting my touch back. It was a good step forward.
On progress since pulling out of the Chivas Reserve game April 23) In the last four weeks I’ve made a huge, huge, huge, huge step forward. Hopefully these next four weeks follow the same way. I feel great. I really feel close. I’m not 100 percent obviously, but speed-wise, all that stuff, is coming back. It’s all coming back. Today is a great day. The fans got to see me, I got to see the fans. What it feels like to be in front of fans, again, it feels a bit emotional because it’s been 13 months. I feel good, and I’m going in the right direction.
On his thoughts at kickoff) So many things. It’s been a long long road. I’ve got a lot of people to thank. … I know I’m not the player I was on April 22 before the injury. I know that. That’s going to be something I have to live with for a while. But I do know that I’m getting back towards being that guy. I think I did some things tonight that I didn’t know I could go, and I was able to go a lot longer than I thought I would. I wish I would have scored that one, but I’ll take what it was for today.
On return to MLS this season) I think a lot sooner. It’s coming. It’s coming really soon. I’m not going to wait until I feel 100 percent like I did before I play. That’s not going to get me anywhere. I think as soon as feel I can get in and contribute – if it’s 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there – I’ll be talking to Sigi and see what I can do. It’s going to be a lot sooner. People have to understand that it’s going to be a while before they see me picking the ball up at the halfway line and dribbling 50 yards with the ball, and I think they understand that. It’s going to come and take time. I think it’s going to be good. I need more games like this because that’s the only way I’m going to get it back. That’s the only way. Training’s good, but I need more games. And that taste now just makes me hungry to get the real thing.