For the first time since suffering a severe broken leg on April 22nd of 2011, Steve Zakuani will make his return to the Seattle Sounders squad after being named to the substitutes bench for tonight's game against Sporting Kansas City by head coach Sigi Schmid. Zakuani's recovery has been mired by complications such as nerve damage and compartment syndrome, and the winger has admitted to struggling mightily with the psychological and emotional side of things; though being named to the substitute's bench is no guarantee that Zakuani will play, it does represent a massive step that's far closer to the end of the process than the beginning.
If Zakuani makes an appearance tonight, it will most likely be as a striker; though his technical skills are a major part of what has in the past made him such a dangerous winger, they are also one of the most difficult things to regain without significant playing time. That's less of a concern if Zakuani is stationed up top as a late-game substitution, and it's also where he played when starting for the reserves last month and has spent most of his time in training. Still, at this point it doesn't matter where he plays or for how long Zakuani is on the pitch; just seeing him back where he belongs will be enough for now.