Almost exactly 2 years ago my career nearly ended here in Colorado. Back here for first time for a match tomorrow. Full circle.
— Steve Zakuani (@stevezakuani11) April 20, 2013
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How important was Steve Zakuani‘s return to Colorado? Well, enough to break his vow of Twitter silence (as seen above).
It was almost two years ago to the day when the Sounders FC midfielder suffered a horrific broken leg here in a road game against the Rapids. And, lo and behold, Zakuani would actually be matched up against Brian Mullan, the player who caused the injury with a reckless tackle on April 22, 2011.
First off, I asked Seattle coach Sigi Schmid if that history crossed his mind coming into the game.
“Yeah, it was something I talked to Steve about,” Schmid said. “He said he felt OK with it; he was comfortable with it. And I thought Steve did all right. He had a couple of good runs where he got behind Brian, a couple times in the second half more so. But (other than) that, I think the two of them sort of negated each other.”
And what was Zakuani’s mindset coming in?
“Just when we landed in Denver, it kind of brought back a few memories from that day, that Friday that I was here,” he said. “I just felt once again I had to reach out (on Twitter, above) to the fans who were great. I don’t know if you guys saw, but as the game started, a section of Colorado fans were singing my name. That’s probably the most emotional moment I’ve had on the pitch, having opposing fans singing my name.
“It just kind of felt right to reach out one more time and say thanks. I tried as best I could to focus on the game. It wasn’t easy with Mullan as the right back, but that’s the way it played out. I just tried to play for my team, as always.”
Zakuani said he had hopes of possibly meeting up with some people who helped him in recovery. There was one nurse in particular, but Zakuani said they weren’t able to track her down as she might not be working at that hospital anymore.
“Next time,” he said.
Some people noticed Mullan gave Zakuani a handshake when the Sounder was subbed out of the game, so I asked him if there was any interaction between the two as the game went on.
“Not during the game,” Zakuani said. “Before the game I saw him in the tunnel. We shook hands, and I was also talking with Danny Mwanga, Atiba Harris and some of the guys I knew. During the game we just played. Then after the game, he just kind of said, ‘Slow down next time.’ It was just pure banter. Once the whistle blew kind of just played as I always play.”
Full circle, indeed.