Updated Apr 13, 2012 - 11:29 am
Zakuani wants Sounders fans to take the high road
Mullan is expected to play against the Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, while Zakuani can only watch. Zakuani will not allow the injury to make him hate Mullan, and he hopes Seattle fans will react the same way.
"I wish him the best and I know the fans need to do what they do," he told reporters after practice this week. "My advice is to let it go and use your energy to support the team."
Mullan served a 10-game MLS suspension, the most severe punishment in league history. He's tried to reach out to Zakuani through Seattle teammates, but the two have never met to talk about the incident which changed both their lives.
"We can have the talk, but it won't change anything. There's nothing more that needs to be said," Zakuani said. "The last thing I want to do is be a distraction to the game."
Mullan initially said he didn't believe his tackle was too severe, but later showed deep remorse when he learned how badly Zakuani had been hurt.
"I think he knows what it cost me," Zakuani said. "You can see the scar on my leg. It's a skin graft. Everyone knows it's cost me a year of my career, and there's no getting around that."
Zakuani continues to train with the team and hopes to play in some reserve games during the next month.
Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid expects Sounders players to be professional when facing Mullan for the first time since the incident.
"It's an unfortunate situation what happened last year," Schmid said. "Obviously, Steve and Brian have come to terms with it. We just have to go on, and we have to play a normal game and not make it a focal point."
Schmid wants his team focused on getting three valuable points against a Western Conference opponent. Seattle has seven points from the first four matches, while the Rapids have piled up nine points.
While midfielder Mauro Rosales (knee) and left back Adam Johansson (hamstring) are healing from their injuries, Schmid is leaning toward holding them out one more game. The Sounders are off next week.
Colorado is without one of its key players. Burly forward Conor Casey is coming off a torn Achilles and subsequent surgery. Without him, the Rapids have employed a 4-3-3 formation and sought out tall Jamaican forward Omar Cummings.
Matt Johnson hosts the pregame show at 12:30 Saturday. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller describe the action starting at 1 p.m. on 97.3 KIRO FM.
Follow Bill Swartz, 710 ESPN Seattle
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