Sounders FC forward Steve Zakuani has undergone what the club called successful surgery to repair a broken right leg suffered Friday in Seattle’s 1-0 win at Colorado.
Zakuani is expected to remain at Rose Medical Center in Denver for several days before returning to Seattle.
He was injured in the third minute on a sliding tackle by veteran Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan, who was ejected with a red card.
Mullan, who leads the Rapids in fouls, said after the game that he had not intended to injure Zakuani.
“Once we hear everything and know everything we’ll be able to say, but right now it’s just hearsay and speculation,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who coached Mullan with the Los Angeles Galaxy (2001-02). “… No player goes into a tackle like that trying to hurt a player. He’s an aggressive player, and it happens.”
Moments before the incident, Mullan had become tangled with a Sounders player and fell. He got up motioning to the referee for a whistle. When none came, he ran at Zakuani and slid into his legs.
“It’s a tough one,” Sounders veteran defender James Riley said. “I know Brian Mullan – I’ve been playing against him for the past seven years. … He’s full-throttle, and he’s a great guy. It was an unfortunate tackle. It looked like a hard tackle before I even got over there, and to have what happened to Stevie is obviously very unfortunate.”
Zakuani is in his third season with the Sounders. In 2009, he led all MLS rookies with four goals and four assists, and he was a finalist for rookie of the year. Last season, he matched Fredy Montero for the team lead with 10 goals, and this season he is even with O’Brian White for the team lead with two.
Minority owner Drew Carey has indicated on his Twitter account (@DrewFromTV) there could be some tribute to Zakuani on Saturday when the Sounders play Toronto FC at Qwest Field. In the meantime, the club will pass along cards and letters sent in care of Sounders Community Relations, 12 Sea- hawks Way, Renton 98056.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer