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Tag: zakuani


Zakuani: “In best shape of my career”


After the Sounders opened training this morning, we got a few minutes with midfielder Steve Zakuani.

Some highlights:

On how he feels: I feel I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in my career. I did a lot of work in the off-season. I was in touch with Dave Tenney – fitness coach – every two or three days. Even when I was in London and even when I went on my vacations, I kept myself in shape because I knew that I was working from a deficit last year. Dave knows his stuff, and now all indications are I’m at the fittest point I’ve been – ever – like in terms of the testing they’ve done so far. I feel good. This is my fifth time around doing this now, so I’ve been around, and I feel in great, great shape.

On if his progress at the end of last season gave confidence that’s carried over: It gave me a lot of confidence. I know we lost to LA, but Read more »


Zakuani: “I’m over the injury”


Sounders wing Steve Zakuani played 90 minutes Sunday in the reserve match at San Jose. After training to day, he said he considers his once-career-threatening leg fractures behind him and that all he needs is game fitness and sharpness, which he hopes to get in first-team games starting as early as Saturday against Vancouver.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

On going 90 minutes: It was hard. It was a hot day, and the San Jose team had a much more experienced team than we did. It was a lot of chasing the ball, which was a lot of fitness. But I think for myself it was just a chance to get some minutes I haven’t been getting really. So to go 90 minutes was good and to be able to train 48 hours later was great. So I’m in a good place.

On recent appearances on the first-team 18) Being in the 18, you always want to get in and play. But it depends on the game and the situation and the changes we make as a team. It’s been good for me that I’ve been able to be in the coach’s mind for important games: the Open Cup final, the L.A. game, and I think that San Jose reserve game for myself was a chance to be out there, get some chances. I’ve done that. And to come out and have a good session today, and we’ll see what happens on the weekend.

On no longer appearing on the team’s injury list) I think even when I do get back to playing full-time, it will take me a couple of games to get back to speed. I think in training I am back to where I want to be, and I don’t have much more to go in training. Games are a different story. I was just thinking, I’m over the injury. I don’t think about it any more. I’m thinking Read more »


Loan of Zakuani still a possibility


After Steve Zakuani returned to MLS play on July 7 against Colorado, coach Sigi Schmid raised the possibility of loaning him to another team in order to get him the game-minutes needed to complete his comeback from his leg fractures.

Zakuani got a few minutes at the end of last night’s friendly against Chelsea FC. And now the Sounders MLS Reserve team is about to begin play again, and the first team is about to go into a month that will juggle MLS, the Open Cup final and the start of CONCACAF Champions League. But Schmid said today that the loan for Zakuani remains a possiblity.

“It’s sort of a week-to-week thing,” Schmid said. “There are some teams that have expressed sort of an interest in that. Either the timing hasn’t been right, or it hasn’t worked out. We’re getting closer to where we’re getting some reserve games coming up here shortly. It’s a very fluid situation, so I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not happen. It could happen, Read more »


Zakuani swaps jerseys with Mullan, hopes for closure and getting on with their careers

Here’s some of what Steve Zakuani had to say tonight as he returned to MLS action for the first time since suffering a fractured right tibia and fibula April 22, 2011, on a reckless tackle by Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan. (And here is a great picture of the shirt-swap, and a few quotes from Mullan.)

On finally being back) “I am honestly overwhelmed. I tried to visualize what that moment would be like for almost a year. It was something I can’t describe. Those fans are something else, and I think that they out did themselves tonight. I am emotional obviously and it is a great emotional check mark in my mind. I am also happy the team won. It is a great night for the Sounders organization all around.”

On exchanging jerseys with Brian Mullan after the game) “I went up to a bunch of their players, and I went up to him Read more »


Zakuani says MLS return “coming really soon”

Zakuani before match.

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 Read more »


No. 11 returns to pitch in Sounders Reserves loss

Steve Zakuani warms up before Sounders Reserve League match at Starfire tonight.

Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani took a major step on his long road to recovery tonight, playing the first 45 minutes of an MLS Reserve League match against Vancouver.

The Whitecaps won, 2-1, at Starfire Sports Complex.

However, the news of longer-lasting importance may have been Zakuani’s first game appearance since suffering a fractured right tibia and fibula April 22, 2011, during a game at Colorado.

Afterward he said he felt winded by that the leg injury was fine. He said he was frustrated to have missed a good goal chance but said he expects to be back in an MLS match sooner than most people might expect … if only for 10 minutes or so to start.

Since suffering the injury, he had played training games, including 45 minutes in a friendly against Gonzaga in early April. He had expected to make his Reserve League debut April 23 at Chivas USA, but that plan was scrapped after he pulled himself out of training the day before, citing leg pain.

As of Thursday, coach Sigi Schmid had listed Zakuani as 50-50 for the reserve match, but by late afternoon Friday, the club confirmed he would play.

He received a hand from the crowd at Starfire Sports Complex during introductions, and again on his first few touches.

As the minutes moved along, he had several nice touches in threatening opportunities.

Among them:

*In the 21st minute he showed a nice burst of speed working his way between two Whitecaps defenders, but couldn’t quite chip keeper Brad Knighton from about 10 yards.

*In the 28th minute he made his familiar inside stutter-step move before darting out, but then shooting wide of the far post.

*Over the final minutes of the first half, he was knocked down three times – the third time hard enough where teammate Roger Levesque went over to deliver a word and a quick shove to Vancouver’s Daniel Stanese. But in each case, Zakuani returned quickly to his feet and the match.

With a 45-minute milestone in his recovery behind him, he was subbed out in accordance with the pregame plan.

As for the game, Vancouver (3-1-1) scored on two headers by Danny Mattocks, while Dom Dismuke provided the lone score for Seattle (1-3-1) in the 81st minute.

Sounders FC returns to U.S. Open Cup action at 7 p.m. Tuesday, meeting Cal FC at Starfire. Their next MLS match is June 16 at Montreal.

The next Reserve League match is Aug. 6, when the Los Angeles Galaxy visits.

Read more »


Zakuani hoping for MLS return by July or August


At Sounders training this morning, Steve Zakuani made a wonderful step-over move to find space down the right side. It looked so familiar that the thought instantly flashed through my mind: “That looks just like Steve Zakuani” — meaning, of course, the old pre-injuyry Steve Zakuani.

After training, I asked him if he sometimes feels like the old Steve Zakuani.

“Not yet — not to the level I was,” he said. “But that’s the sort of thing that builds confidence, when you do those kinds of things. I’m just happy to be back in training. It’s been obviously a really rough rehab recovery. There were times when I was coming out here over the summer and I could barely jog with our trainer, and now I’m playing with the guys. So that’s great progress. But you want more, so I’m still pushing to get back to where I want to be, but I’m getting there slowly.”

A few other topics from a brief post-practice interview:

On if he feels up to coach Sigi Schmid’s suggestion of playing in reserve games next month: I don’t know. I’m just taking it day by day. I would say Read more »


Zakuani reveals nerves problem, hopeful for March


Here’s some of what Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani had to say today about his rehab. The big issue seems to be a nerve problem called compartment syndrome. However, the leg breaks themselves seem to be coming along well, and he remains hopeful of being ready for the start of the 2012 season.

On his current recovery:
I just haven’t done contact. … In my conversations with Sigi we agreed to work on the more technical stuff: passing, shooting, getting that comfortable and trying to build up the rest. Right now my goals are trying to get back to sprinting: That’s the last thing to come, you’re speed and stuff. I’m waiting for the explosiveness and speed to come back, and strength, and maybe even a little bit of a mental issue: Confidence in taking hits and stuff. That’s going to be a while. So that’s what I have four months to work on. I’m happy where I am. The doctors say I’m probably still a little bit ahead of where they thought I’d be because it’s a double leg break. But people don’t know I had compartment syndrome, which if you look it up it’s a very serious issue where your nerves could die. So I lost of a lot of nerves. So that’s been the main problem I had. The leg has been fine for a while, it’s just my nerves issue. But we didn’t want to say that for a while. I wanted to see if it’s going to come back, but it’s starting to come back and that’s the main issue. I lost a lot of nerves down my right side. I lot a lot of sensation in my foot and as a footballer you need your foot.

On what’s next: Read more »