Ordinarily, Saturday’s emotional happening inside CenturyLink Field would be the league’s national headline maker.
But MLS Round 6 is overloaded with sweet storylines. There’s Real Salt Lake’s meeting with Sporting Kansas City, a clash of teams with just one loss between them. And there’s New York’s meeting with San Jose, a match that features three of the league’s top four scorers.
But a meeting Saturday in Seattle runs deep in history and a certain amount of emotional scarring – plus actual physical scarring.
This marks the first time Brian Mullan has played in Seattle since one of the most notorious incidents in the league’s 17 years. Last April, Mullan shattered Steve Zakuani’s leg with a menacing tackle. Seattle’s promising young winger has yet to get back on the field in a competitive match.
Mullan, who was deeply affected by the incident, isn’t speaking publicly about it this week, although he did issue a statement through his club earlier this week. Sounders manager Sigi Schmid says both players must deal with this in their own way.
Zakuani, meanwhile, sounds like a man ready to forgive and move on. From the story on MLSSoccer.com:
I spoke to him already,” Zakuani said. “I’ve known he was remorseful. The only thing I didn’t like was his initial comment after the game and to be fair, he said he didn’t know the injury was that bad. Other than that, I think he understands what it cost me. I have a massive scar on my leg.”
There’s more from Zakuani and his prolonged quest to return here, from the Seattle Times.
Seattle’s passionate fans? Tough to say how they’ll react.
Take it or leave it.
Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.
[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]
City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.
While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.
Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.
The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.
[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]
With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.
Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.
Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.
New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC
Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada
Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
He was tabbed to be Liverpool’s opening day starter in goal, but Loris Karius could now miss the first two months of the Premier League season after suffering a hand injury in Wednesday’s International Champions Cup loss against Chelsea.
[ MORE: Real looking at Sissoko, Verratti as midfield options ]
The 23-year-old was brought to the Reds this summer from Bundesliga side Mainz for over $6 million.
Karius opted not to represent Germany at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in order to avoid missing any game action with Liverpool. Unfortunately, the young keeper will now likely miss between eight and 10 weeks.
His career ended over seven years ago, but former Italy international Christian Vieri is looking to make an improbable comeback in a country that continues to attract big stars.
The 43-year-old Vieri is reportedly coming out of retirement to join the Chinese Super League, and posted a video on Twitter confirming his plans.
Last playing in 2009, Vieri finished his career where it began — in Italy — with Atalanta. During his career, the striker played for 10 clubs in his native country, while also spending time in Spain and France with Atletico Madrid and Monaco, respectively.
Vieri made his name with Inter Milan, where he recorded six straight seasons with double-digit goals. At the height of his career with Internazionale, Vieri netted 27 times across all competitions during the 2002/03 season.