Martins returns, but Sounders lose 2 to injury

Sounders FC's appeal of a red card to Obafemi Martins was upheld, so he will be available against Vancouver on Saturday. Steve Zakuani and Osvaldo Alonso will not, however, because of injuries.

Sounders FC was dealt two injury blows to valuable midfielders last week, but on Wednesday learned that another key contributor would be made available for Saturday's Cascadia Cup clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

Already without Shalrie Joseph, head coach Sigi Schmid said both Osvaldo Alonso and Steve Zakuani would be unavailable this weekend due to injury. The good news came when the club learned that Obafemi Martins had his appeal upheld and that his red card issued against Chivas USA would be rescinded.

Alonso suffered a thigh injury against Chivas USA last Saturday, withdrawing from the match after 20 minutes. He will be out of Saturday’s match, but Schmid wouldn’t rule him out of Seattle’s following match on June 22 against Real Salt Lake. Zakuani, on the other hand, was in Seattle when he suffered a sports hernia-type of injury that will require surgery in the coming days and have him out of action for six-to-eight weeks.

“It’s been tough,” Schmid said of Zakuani. “He’s had to deal with numerous things in his career and it’s another thing he has to deal with.”

Zakuani suffered a fractured tibia and fibula in 2011 and was limited to just 320 minutes in eight matches in 2012 while he worked his way back from the injury and the compartment syndrome that followed. This season he returned to his starting role, starting in the first six matches of the season and playing 468 minutes before an abdominal strain put him out of action. Last week, while working his way back from the injury, Zakuani suffered a setback and will undergo surgery soon.

Alonso suffered a slight muscle tear and could be back as soon as June 22, but if he misses that game, he would likely be ready to play by the match after that on July 3 when the Sounders host DC United.

“He generally recovers pretty well, so it’ll be a week-to-week prognosis,” Schmid said. “Having a break now and being able to rebuild and re-strengthen all that is probably not the worst thing.”

Martins, on the other hand, was ecstatic when he learned that he would be eligible for Saturday's game. Last week, the dynamic striker scored his fourth goal of the season in the 22nd minute and was shown a red card in the 71st minute. However, an independent review panel made up of one representative from the US Soccer Federation, the Canadian Soccer Association and the Professional Referees Organization voted unanimously to overturn the ruling.

Martins has paired well with Lamar Neagle at forward, with Martins scoring four goals and Neagle adding three goals and two assists this season.

Kickoff for Saturday’s match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT, with national television coverage on NBC Sports.

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