SEATTLE — With MLS First Kick just a day away, Seattle midfielders Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans remain questionable with injuries ahead of the season opener against the LA Galaxy on Tuesday (9:30 pm ET; ESPN/Deportes).
Both players limped off the field during Seattle’s final preseason match against the Colorado Rapids on March 9 and are battling to be ready for the Tuesday night curtain-raiser. Zakuani is recovering from a hip/groin injury while Evans has a right hamstring problem.
Hopeful that his two expected starters would be ready to play—or perhaps unwilling to tip his hand to the Galaxy—Sounders manager Sigi Schmid said Sunday that both players will be evaluated Monday.
“They are doing OK,” Schmid said after Sunday's training session at Qwest Field. “They are both making progress and we will make a determination tomorrow.”
The majority of Sunday’s training session was closed to the media, so it was unclear if either player participated in a full practice.
Should Evans and Zakuani be unable to play, Seattle would be without two of their key attacking threats. Zakuani has been Seattle’s best attacker against the Galaxy (three career goals) while Evans has scored in each of Seattle’s past two home openers.
Newcomer Erik Friberg would seem the likely choice to replace Evans in central midfield, but there is no clear-cut understudy at Zakuani’s left midfield position. Rookie Michael Tetteh is one option but Schmid also mentioned other players as possible replacements, including Miguel Montano and Roger Levesque. It’s also possible that Evans could move to outside midfield, with rookie Servando Carrasco or another player coming into the center of midfield.
Whoever the left midfielder, he will have arguably the toughest job of the match in containing LA star David Beckham.