Here’s some of what Steve Zakuani and other Sounders had to say about his return to the starting lineup after an absence of exactly 500 days.
Thoughts on the first half and the progression of the game: We didn’t have enough of the ball. We were saying to each other, ‘right now we can’t keep the ball.’ We were just clearing it and clearing it and giving it back to Dallas. I didn’t get many touches, but we knew that when we got it we had to take care of it and we did.
We had a few chances… a good header from Mauro’s [ Mauro Rosales] cross and Fredy [Fredy Montero] got it a couple times. [Christain Tiffert] was finding balls and Alonso began to find the ball. I began to find the ball too. I knew that in this heat I might just get one or two chances to run. When it came, I made sure to take it. I looked up and saw Mauro making a good run at the back post. He was free and it was up to me to find him. I was able to do that.
The first 15 minutes wasn’t good. We ended the first half very well. And the second half was just about getting a point and getting back to Seattle to regroup. We’ll take that. This isn’t an easy place to come play.
On Mauro Rosales’ goal and his assist: I was just happy we scored. It didn’t hit me until half time that it was my first start. It was good to get back on the board in terms of an assist, but I was honestly just disappointed that we didn’t get to the half at 1-0.
On what he has to do moving forward: Play again. Keep building. I’m just going to have to keep training and training to get my sharpness back again. The run I made I could have made, you know, 10 times. My fitness was really good and my goal is to be able to do that run a few times each half. That’s what I bring to the team. I just need to play my role. We’ve had a good run. We still haven’t lost in a very long time. September should be a very good month for us and then we’ll be pushing on into the playoffs. I just want to be there to play my role.
Coach SIGI SCHMID
On Zakuani’s return: Steve shows that he still has that explosion, the ability to beat people. As he gains confidence hopefully those kind of opportunities will occur more often in the game. He’s shown that he can still do it. It was a tremendous assist Now its just a matter of gaining game fitness and the ability to do that on a repetitive level.
Midfielder MAURO ROSALES
On his goal and the assist by Zakuani: It was a great assist from Stevie [Steve Zakuani]. I was just trying to put the ball in the net. It was good for me. I’m not used to scoring. I’m used to making the assist, but it was a goal for us and now we just have to keep going.
On the return of Steve Zakuani and his play in the match: It was great to see him back with the team and on a good level. He was working very hard to come back and you could see the frustration with him a few months ago when he couldn’t be the best player that he really wanted to be. Now we’re very happy for him. We’ll have to keep supporting him to come back to the level he wants.
We have to get him to the same level of confidence that he had in the past, but it has already been a great come back. Playing and getting assists… the minutes he is gaining game by game. He’s going to get past this and get back on his same level.