I know the event happened almost a week ago, but Monday marked Sounders FC’s return to practice after a five-day vacation. It also presented the first time to talk to forward Mike Fucito after his face was bloodied by Daniel Hernandez‘ elbow in last week’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal.
I asked Fucito if what he remembers from the play and if he thought it was dirty.
“I just remember shielding it in the corner,” he replied. “I know who it was who elbowed me and, yeah, I think it was a dirty play. I won’t say who it was. I just remember shielding the one guy and the other guy came in, and I just remember seeing an elbow come hit me in the face. You guys saw the blood.”
Fucito needed nine stitches to close the gash near his right eye and still has a nice shiner. So how’s he feel now?
“Good. A little tender on the spot, but it looks a lot better than it did,” he said.
Since the blow Fucito has asked photographers to share pictures of the bloody aftermath. While recollecting himself after impact he distinctly remembers a handful of cameras pointed his direction, snapping away
“I wanted to see what it looked like,” he said.
A stitched-up face, Fucito joked, has been a nice icebreaker when talking to people, but his tenor was a little more serious when asked if there was anything leading up to the violent act.
“I think that’s the type of player he is in general,” he said of Hernandez. “I didn’t have any personal thing with him in the game, but he tends to be a little bit rough at times.”
Sigi Schmid coached Hernandez in 1999 while with the L.A. Galaxy.
“I know Daniel. He’s a competitor,” said Schmid. “He’s a competitive player. He’s going to battle. He’s going to win. Like all players who are very competitive, he’s going to be a little disappointed when it’s not going his way. Daniel’s a hard player, but he’s not generally a cheap player.”
Schmid was also asked if there’s anything the team might do in light of the incident.
“We’re not the kind of club that’s going to cry and point fingers or anything like that,” he said. “If U.S. Soccer has decided that they didn’t need to look at it any further then we’re not going to do anything.”
Fucito said he’s received all the support he needs from the team.
“Absolutely, yeah, and we have some pretty good pictures to send to the league if necessary,” he said. “I think the ref… I don’t know why I got the foul, but other than that, I think everything was handled well.”
“The stitches look good,” he added, smiling.