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.