However, he played with a notable limp, and his reaction afterward reflected both of those realities.
"It’s mixed feelings," he said. "Obviously I’m happy to be playing again – playing to some degree, and just to be out there with the guys and stuff. So that part makes me happy because obviously it definitely means I’m on that home stretch, the last run. But the frustrating part is realizing how far behind I am – not just from the group, but my own self before I got injured. There’s so much more work to do. It was OK to go through that, but in realistic terms, just because I got that taste today, I’m frustrated that it’s not the full thing. I just have to put on the same work I’ve done before – keep going and let time do it’s job and I think eventually it will move quicker than I expect. So I’m happy to be out there, happy to be playing, happy to be back just to see the guys. But it’s just frustrating that it’s not where it should be."
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid voiced much the same ambivalence.
"I think today was a good day for Steve," he said. "I said just go all out for as long as you can and then you can evaluate and we can evaluate where you are in your process. I think right now he’s got a good feel for how far he’s come and how far away he is still away. And I think he was a little frustrated at the end because he was hoping he might be closer, but I was actually pretty happy with where he’s at. He knows what he needs to do now, and the differences. I think he’s probably 65-70 percent in terms of playing with the group there. He still had an impact: It was great to see him score that final goal. It’s been a long time since he’s scored the winning goal at the end of a practice, and it will come. So I was happy with it."
As he has done since suffering his injury last April in Colorado, Zakuani declined to predict or even voice a hope for when he might be ready to play in an MLS game. And Schmid took the same approach.
"We have no real timetable on it because I don’t like to put a timetable on it either," Schmid said. "We’d just like to see progress each week. Right now we’re probably going to go with him on a schedule where it’s one day on the field with us, and then the next day getting off his feet a little bit: maybe it’s biking, maybe it’s ellipticals, doing things that are a little more non-impact and building him along there."
We also asked about forward O'Brian White, who did not participate in the scrimmage.
"O’Brian White is further behind," Schmid said. "He’s still just doing the bike and doing non-impact stuff on the elliptical. We’ll have to see how it goes, but right now he’s still a bit away from being able to train on the field."