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Steve Zakuani Suffers Severe Leg Injury

In the early stages of tonight’s MLS match between the Rapids and Sounders, young Seattle star Steve Zakuani suffered what appears likely to be a tibia fracture after an extremely clumsy challenge by Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan.

Here is a link to the video of the incident: WARNING – VIDEO IS GRAPHIC AND SHOWS SLO-MO OF INCIDENT.

Here’s to hoping that Zakuani heals quickly and gets back to full health in quick order.

Mullan of course received his ticket to the shower, and here’s hoping he gets a solid suspension to prevent similar risky challenges on the pitch.

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  1. Teresa

    May 21, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Terrible injury. My son also suffered a broken tibia and fibula on May 12th. It is also his right leg. He had surgery yesterday May 19th. He is only 7 years old and has been so very brave. We are so proud of him. He is a huge Sounders fan and has a Steve Zakuani poster in his bedroom. I think we’ll get him a Steve Zakuani jersey at one of the games this week as we are season ticket holders. His hospital room was #11 like Steve’s #. It would be really cool if he could get his jersey signed somehow. Ugh! Just watched the Zakuani video. It looked just like that when it happened. Makes my stomach turn. The best of luck to Steve in his recovery. Little Aidan will be right there with you.

  2. Midnight Marauder

    April 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    No judgment today, but at least the James Grant Sports Agency got to help Mullan out with a new heartfelt 27 word apology.

  3. CEFC6

    April 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I’m 13 and play club soccer and this makes me mad at the video and even more mad at Joejoe, dude you fail hard.

  4. TheBeautifulGame

    April 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Brian Mullan and the rest of the MLS goons have been playing anything to Win
    goon Soccer because the MLS refs and Organization are brain dead and allow it.
    Houstin a almost total goon squad has played that style for years and I have lost my voice
    on many occasions yelling at Goon players like Goon Andre Hainault, Goon Bobby Boswell,
    Goon Geoff Cameron, Goon Mike Chabala, Goon Cam Weaver and the leader of the Goons
    Dominic Kinnear. Just look at the Coaches and you can follow the Goons Bruce Arena
    and 2 time leg Breaker Dema Kovalenko, Goon Omar Gonzalez, Goon Mike Magee, Goon Chris Birchall, to name a few

  5. Jeromy

    April 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    People need to stop say’n Mullan isn’t a dirty player, even Eric wynalda acknowlede he has always played ruff and made brash challenges and now it has caught up. Ferrari is now probably out for the rest of the season from a reckless tackal. MLS better set a precedent on these 2 incidents, and as jason kries put out the players union should punish as well.

    • Wulf

      April 25, 2011 at 9:23 am

      I agree completely. As an FCD supporter I watched Colorado play recklessly the whole match against us. I really feel for the Sounders fans and Steve Zakuani. Quite a few unnecessary challenges that game, yet we never saw a red card. Now it seems the lack luster attitude of the refs and a reckless tackle will have our best player out for the season. If the MLS doesn’t get it, that these two players bring in a lot of fans, and now because of stupid tackles they’re out the whole season, then I reckon they never will.

  6. Wulf

    April 24, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Mullans not a dirty player?! Guy leads the rapids in fouls. Colorado acts like they’re playing rugby because they can’t play soccer. If Mullins isn’t fined and suspended I’ll loose quite a bit of confidence in the MLS.

  7. Kristy

    April 24, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Cleats up! Terrible! I watched several times, as a soccer mom and a Therapist, I hope coaches show this to kids as to what not to do – That is the 1st thing you learn in soccer –

  8. The original Tom

    April 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    It was a stupid, impact intended, tackle; but it was mostly bad luck that the player got so injured. It deserved red, and a suspension, but let’s not get carried away. We’ve seen tackles like that not injure someone and result in only a yellow.

    I was at the game, but I didn’t really appreciate the seriousness of the incident until I watched it on TV at home. I hope the player gets better soon, it looks like an awful injury.

  9. Knarfl1

    April 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    “It’s a tackle that I’ve done hundreds of times and would probably do again”.

    Complete BS. He was retaliating and aimed high. If he went low (below the knees) and broke Zakuani leg, then MAYBE I can understand. Just for that statement alone, he should be banned/fined.

    Brian Mullan acted completely as a dirty player. No ifs ends or buts about it.

    Ban him and fine him for as long as Zakuani is out.

  10. soccermom

    April 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

    This is NOT what soccer is about! Soccer should be skills, speed, and teamwork–not physical barnstorming………. While mistakes can happen, anyone who watches this game is familiar with flops, out of control games, and ego’s that retaliate when they don’t get the call their way. How about owing Z a lifetime of income? Seriously–let’s get it in perspective………….this is not a sprained wrist. This is a career ending injury that was NOT an accident!

    • joejoe

      April 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Mom, let me tell you. This league prides itself in being physical, which is really code for ugly play and little skill.

      • thisguy

        April 24, 2011 at 4:44 am

        There’s a difference btwn playing physical and playing stupid joejoe. Physical play knocks your guy off the ball, but it doesn’t injure him. It’s body to body/shoulder to shoulder hits. Even pee-wee players know you don’t slide in with two feet. It’s like the first thing coaches teach on sliding.

      • Charles

        April 24, 2011 at 7:36 am


        Quit trying to make an excuses on why you didn’t make it to MLS.
        Time will heal….

      • Jeromy

        April 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

        Joe, this league does NOT pride itself on being physical. MLS is despretly try’n to get away from the physical aspect it has been plagued with in American soccer. Hence Garber has asked the ref’s to be carding more in the box on attack’s and to protect the tactcal skillful players more. NO protection means NO more skilled players wanting to come to this league.

        • Oh_yeah

          April 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

          If the league trying to protect the skillful players, I think that some of the players did not get the memo. It is too late for Zak and Davide Ferriera.

  11. alaboston

    April 23, 2011 at 8:49 am

    wow. not a Sounders’ fan, but damn. I have a lot of respect for Zakuani, as he is one of the most technically gifted players in MLS, this is really, really bad. I’ve seen high school (American) football players tackle with more grace than that.

  12. Midnight Marauder

    April 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

    2:43 Jeff L. is 5 yards behind the center half, just off to the left passes diagonally to the right to Mullan who is 10 yards behind the box. Mullan chests it but is challenged by Wahl and falls down, raises arms in disgust to official at 2:50 at the lost possession as Zakuani scoops up the ball and Mullan gets up a yard behind where he fell. Zakuani goes upfield with Mullan running straight towards the sideline at full speed and crunches him with both feet at 2:53.

    Looks to me like Mullan was enraged on not getting the call, and saw a green shirted Zakuani in possession of the ball the same way a bull sees red. It took him a short number of strides to reach speed and he had no interest in adjusting his angle towards the ball as he closed in with the late tackle.

    Afterward he states this:
    “I’m sorry for Steve (Zakuani). It was never my intention to injure him in the least. It’s a tackle that I’ve done hundreds of times and would probably do again. I had no intention of hurting him. It’s a freak, freak thing, and I apologize and wish Steve a speedy recovery.”

    The first sentence is truthful, the rest is lip service because not getting the call seriously clouded his judgment. Maybe he didn’t mean for the broken leg but seeing the act and the moments before, that malicious tackle was full of intent.

    • Kristy

      April 24, 2011 at 12:47 am

      It may not be intentional – but come on – your cleats were up!

  13. jonathan edge

    April 23, 2011 at 4:01 am

    that was gut wrenching. hard to watch. I can’t believe they even showed a replay of it. It didn’t look dirty but it DID look stupid. And stupid is just as bad as dirty when you’re running at such a high speed with metal anchored to your foot.

    I hope Mullan gets fined, maybe it’ll make him grow up and learn to keep his head on straight.

    Hope Zack’s season isn’t over. Sounders have had a rough enough season with unexpected departures.

    • Oh_yeah

      April 23, 2011 at 6:23 am

      Zak’s season is over. He can not comeback this season.

  14. Jason

    April 23, 2011 at 3:09 am

    IDK on this one, yeah it was a late play to tackle, but seriously couldn’t have been intentional. He got the red card but I just don’t see the necessity of a further suspension. Soccer is a contact sport and unfortunately injuries happen. Accidents happen. 🙁

  15. Alan

    April 23, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Holy crap that was ridiculous. Intentional or not, he should be suspended.

  16. DomiNate

    April 23, 2011 at 2:10 am

    You’re “just saying'” something stupid. Watch it again when you’re sober. The tackle was criminal, joejoe.

    • joejoe

      April 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Not at all stupid. Every week there are people complaining about yellow cards for similar challenges as the one on this game. What’s the rule? Broken leg: Red card. No broken bones: Let them play. Plus all the wimpy statements from people that are supposed to be men. What’s wrong with this country?
      Anyway, the standard one game suspension should suffice.

      • DomiNate

        April 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        If you don’t like this country then leave. You won’t be missed.

        Watch the replay again. Mullan was retaliating for not getting a call. He had no interest in winning the ball.

      • Charles

        April 24, 2011 at 7:32 am

        The ref gave a RED WAY before anyone knew how injured Zakuani was, so joejoe quit trying to make some other point while arguing this one.

  17. joejoe

    April 23, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Wait a minute. Aren’t you one of those dudes always complaining about yellow cards. Because the tackle wasn’t that bad or something like that. Well guess what. The tackle wasn’t so bad. But the dudes leg broke anyway. Just saying.

    • Earl Reed

      April 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      He had no intention to play the ball, only to stop Zakuani’s progress by any means in a benign part of the pitch. Unnecessary, reckless force.

    • thisguy

      April 24, 2011 at 4:35 am

      Any time you go in with two feet it’s a bad tackle. That was as bad a tackle I’ve ever seen. Two feet+no ball+broken leg= horrible tackle. Intent or not, he should be suspended.


    April 23, 2011 at 1:18 am


    • BRussell

      May 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm

      That was easily the most vicious and intentional foul I have ever seen. Looks to me like it could be investigated as a criminal assault. 10 games? Mullan should never be allowed to play the game again. The league disgraces itself by failing to administer proper punishment for such acts. Since the league has failed, perhaps civil authorities need to step up.

      Why should Mullan ever play a minute before his victim? While Zak is out, why not leave goon Mullan out? That might be the best solution. Zak may never play again, certainly he will never play to his full potential. Mullan, the thug, will go one injuring others with impunity.

  19. Oh_yeah

    April 23, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Wow, it was horrible to look at the video replay. I hope that Zakuani have a speedy recovery. The challenge by Mullan was very clumsy. He was not in position to win the ball. Some people are saying that there are too many red card being issued. I say that it is not enough.

  20. Jeremy Kim

    April 23, 2011 at 12:05 am

    I can’t put into words how pissed off I am…Best Wishes Zack I hope the world will see the joy and professinalisim you bring to the game again soon.

  21. Sgt.Hartman

    April 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    That was horrible to watch. All the commentators made sure to state that Brian Mullan is not a dirty player.

    I don’t care. It may be true. But that sure looked like a dirty, malicious tackle to me. For something that out of line, the punishment should fit the crime. Mullan shouldn’t play until Zakuani does.

  22. DomiNate

    April 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Don’t watch the video. The tackle is as bad as I have ever seen. The snap was so loud it sounded like a gun went off.

    I could care less about how this affects our season. My only concern is for Zak. He is the definition of a professional, whether it be his interviews, the solid work he put in during this off season, or the effort he puts in on the field. If there is a video of him being carted off, watch that. He took it like a champ, shaking hands with team mates and applauding the Sounders fans who made the trip while they cheered back.

    Zakuani is a class player and I hope to God he makes a speedy recovery.

    • anime_anarchist

      April 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      Hear hear!

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