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March 17, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Almost ready

At Qwest Field, the preparations for Thursday’s match continue. There are black LED ad display boards on the end lines and east sideline. The ESPN crews are here. The goals and nets are up and the lines are painted. And Steve Zakuani has completed his annual preseason tradition.

The rookie forward has a design shaved into his head. It’s something he’s done before the first game of every season for the past few years. He found a local barber shop to do the ‘do.

“I asked him if he had to do that every morning, or if it just stayed like that for a while,” coach Sigi Schmid said about Zakuani’s hair style. “He said it was OK like that.”

Zakuani, Freddie Ljungberg and Jarrod Smith got through all of practice OK as they return from injuries. Nathan Sturgis, a projected starter (to me) until he hurt a quad last week, is being limited.

“We didn’t want to do anything this week in training that was going to aggravate it at all,” Schmid said. “We felt if he sat back these two, three days, that wasn’t going to affect him that much for the game.”

There’s a short practice tomorrow at Starfire, and then comes Thursday.

“Everything’s ready to go,” Schmid said at Qwest Field today. “We just need the people in here and the crowd noise and all the excitment, the hoopla, the adrenalin and all that good stuff. I think the team’s getting excited. We talked about it today. There’s no pressure, it’s just a great opportunity that we’re going to embrace.”

Schmid wants Qwest Field to become a difficult place to play, like it is when Seahawks’ opponents come to the stadium.

My projected starting lineup is as follows:

F — Montero, Jaqua

M — Nyassi or Zakuani (right), Evans, Alonso (centers), Le Toux (left).

D — Riley (right), Hurtado and Marshall (centers), Scott or Sturgis (left).

GK — Keller

Schmid on Zach Scott: “He’s grown on me, definitely, and the one thing I know is if you put Zach Scott on the field, you’re not going to get shortchanged in any way, shape or form.”

Schmid on Nyassi being more ready than Zakuani: “Nyassi’s obviously gone through all preseason so he’s a little more fitter and sharper at this stage. But both of those players are going to be important players for us whether they’re in the starting lineup or coming off the bench. The roles might be one way for some games and another way for other games.”

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