Steve Zakuani scored his first two competitive goals since April 9, 2011, in leading the Seattle Sounders FC reserves to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy reserves Sunday at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
Zakuani’s goals brought the Sounders from behind twice before Sammy Ochoa scored the winner in the 90th minute.
“I’ve been wanting to play for a long time,” Zakuani said. “I understand it’s a process. But games like today help my confidence and help show that maybe I’m not too far off.”
Los Angeles’ goals came in the 35th minute from Jose Villareal and in the 78th minute from Mike Stephens.
Zakuani’s first equalizer came in the 72nd minute, when he took a pass from Mike Seamon and finished after a long breakaway run.
His second came the 84th minute, when he volleyed in a Marc Burch corner kick from the far post.
Despite cheers from the crowd and hugs from teammates, Zakuani saw his goals as only partly atoning for what he thought was a weak first half.
“The second half was a lot better, and it’s good to get a goal to help for confidence,” he said. “But I’m more focused on getting my touch right, and not losing balls and holding the ball up means a lot more to me at this stage. Goals will come.”
Zakuani’s previous competitive goal was the winner early last season in a home game against Chicago. A couple of weeks later, he suffered fractures in his right leg in a game at Colorado.
The reserve game also marked the Sounders debut of Mario Martinez, who joined the club last week after duty with the Honduran Olympic team.
“You see the kind of technical abilities that he has,” reserves coach Ezra Hendrickson said of Martinez. “… He just pops up in different places. He was playing a withdrawn forward today, then he was popping up right and popping up left. I gave him that freedom for him and Zakuani to switch places and stuff. He’s going to be good.”
The next match for the Sounders reserves (2-4-1) is Sept. 9, when Chivas USA visits Starfire.
The MLS Sounders return to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chivas USA. … Sounders forward Fredy Montero will throw out the first pitch before the Mariners home game against Cleveland at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt