Sounders FC’s Patrick Ianni hadn’t played an MLS game since Sept. 22. And while he came into the 2013 season with huge expectations, he broke his right foot during a routine fitness test in training camp back in January.
Months later, the veteran defender made his season debut in the starting lineup of Sunday’s 2-1 comeback win against Chivas USA, and he talked about it recently.
Here is a transcript of the conversation:
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(How did it feel to get back on the field?) “Good. Yeah, nerves at first a little bit. I’m just learning how I can complement some of the guys around me, so that part of it was new and fun. We obviously have some new additions this year all over the field, so it was fun to play with those new guys and be reunited with Ozzie, Brad and the like. It was just fun to be out there fighting with the guys.”
(How did you handle this long wait?) “I just tried to stay as patient as possible, but it was tough for me. I think there were times when I knew I wasn’t ready to come back but I still really wanted to get back out there. I had to be careful, because you lose days at practice if your mind is not right. Just keep pushing forward and have faith that you’re going to get back out there. I think the last two-, three weeks I got a cortisone shot in my foot and felt better, kept faith, and my practices started to turn at that point. It’s always a good reminder to keep having faith and just keep pushing forward knowing your time will come.”
(Did you ever fear your time might not come?) “No, I knew it would come. I just was getting impatient at times and wanted it to come right away instead of just knowing it would happen. I got clouded a little bit in terms of that.”
(Did you feel rusty at all?) “No, I’ve been feeling good recently. There are little things that you can’t replicate in practice and reserves games that were good to just get a feel of — crosses and different stuff that you don’t maybe get as many reps in. That stuff was good.”
(How did you feel coming into this year?) “Honestly, I felt like I was in a really good place, just because I did so much work in the offseason. I knew there was nothing I could’ve done differently; it was just kind of a freak thing. I was flying in the first week of preseason and felt really good, so take a step back and do everything I can. There’s nothing you can do except move forward. I felt I was in a good place. The toughest thing was the expectations after six weeks, when there’s kind of that indeterminate time period, that time frame (of six to 12 weeks) and not knowing when it’s going to be or how long it going to be. I did feel like I did everything right that first six weeks and hoped it’d be on the shorter end. That was the toughest part — the period between 6-12 weeks. I was slowing inching along until I got a cortisone shot at 12 weeks and that turned the tide and allowed me to have confidence in pretty important movements.”
(How does the foot feel these days?) “Practice feels great. Issues I had surrounding that feel really good now. There are times when it’s sore, and I think that’ll be the case for a little while, but playing-wise I feel good.”
(How did you feel in the reserve games you were playing?) “I felt pretty good going into those games. I think I could’ve stepped in a few weeks earlier, but that wasn’t my decision. I just had to keep going/ I was really happy to get the call, and I hope I get the call next week.”
(When did you find out you were starting?) “I think I found out the day before the game — Saturday.”
(And you almost scored in your debut…) “Yeah, I should’ve scored. Didn’t know Brad was so flexible. Watching him kick the ball, I didn’t think it would come straight at my face. Brad’s good at soccer.”