This Moment

Best moments in Seattle Sounders’ MLS franchise history: Numbers 10-8

Heading into the 2016 MLS Cup Final on Saturday, is taking a look at the 10 best moments in the Seattle Sounders’ Major League Soccer history. No's. 10-8 will be released on Monday, No's. 7-5 on Tuesday, No;'s. 4-3 on Wednesday, No. 2 on Thursday and No. 1 on Friday.

No. 10: The Return of Steve Zakuani

Steve Zakuani was only 23 years old when Brian Mullan delivered the tackle heard round Major League Soccer.

On April 22, 2011, the Colorado Rapids were hosting the Seattle Sounders. In just the third minute, Mullan broke Zakuani’s leg, earned a straight red card and received a 10-game suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee, the longest ban in MLS history.

The Sounders selected Zakuani with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, and he was one of the league's brightest young stars. He was a bona fide playmaker and one of the fastest players in the league before the injury.

Zakuani spent the next 15 months rehabbing and finally made his return to competition on July 7, 2012 — against, of all teams, the Rapids.

Zakuani entered as a substitute in the 86th minute to a roaring Seattle crowd that chanted his name after he came on. He played the final four minutes of regulation, and after the match, Zakuani and Mullan embraced and traded kits in an exchange of solidarity.

"When I got a chance to play against him – trading jerseys is a sign of truce and friendship, because you do that with your friends and people you look up to - trading jerseys with him was a chance to do that in front of everyone on national television and show people that I was going to come back," Zakuani said earlier this year. "And that I hold no hard feelings toward this guy. It was one of the most genuine things I’ve done in my life."

No. 9: Kasey Keller’s Final Match

United States goalkeeping legend Kasey Keller played his final career regular season home match on Oct. 15, 2011, and led the Sounders to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes in front of more than 64,000 fans.

Keller joined the Sounders for their inaugural 2009 MLS season after spending his entire career in Europe, suiting up for the likes of Tottenham, Borussia Monchengladbach and Fulham. He also earned over 100 caps in 17 years on the United States national team.

The Olympia, Wash., native made seven saves in his final match in Seattle including a four-saves-in-10-seconds sequence that was one of the highlights of his three years with the Rave Green. He was also named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Best XI in his final season.

The Emerald City Supporters honored Keller with a tifo that night that read, “In your hands our past was glorious, and our future will be bright.”

“I’m just humbled,” said Keller after the match. “I’m humbled not just for what the club has done for me and given me, [but] the opportunity to come home and finish my career back home is something that is just so incredibly special.”

No. 8: Sounders Sign Clint Dempsey

On Aug. 3, 2013, Clint Dempsey returned to Major League Soccer.

Tabbed by current Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer as “the greatest field player the United States has ever produced,” Dempsey signed with Seattle after spending the previous seven seasons in England with Fulham and Tottenham.

The Nacogdoches, Texas, native began his professional career with the New England Revolution where he scored 25 goals in 71 appearances from 2004-06. He signed as Seattle’s third Designated Player, joining Mauro Rosales and Obafemi Martins.

“In doing something of this magnitude we had to make sure we had the right player. Clint Dempsey fits that mold,” said Sounders owner Adrian Hanaeur. “Clint is a proven winner, a leader and a competitor who we believe will raise the bar for this organization on and off the field.”

Dempsey has scored 34 goals and recorded 22 assists in 72 matches with Seattle. Given his international pedigree and incredible production, he remains one of the league’s best and most notable signings.



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