SEATTLE, WA - JULY 07: Steve Zakuani #11 of the Seattle Sounders battles Drew Moor #3 of the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field on July 7, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated the Rapids 2-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
At practice yesterday, you know when the weather was decent enough to do that sort of thing, Sigi Schmid again talked about the possibility of loaning Steve Zakuani, but noted that the situation is a bit complex. Not only are there MLS Reserves games coming up (August 6th at Starfire v the LA Galaxy is next), but this isn't just about some lower division club wanting to get a name MLS player and a few extra hundred tickets sold. It has to be the right fit for Zakuani, and right now that seems to be at forward.
The best clubs at the lower levels probably are set at forward. Sure the Carolina Railhawks are merely in 6th, but they have a former MLS coach (Colin Clarke - note the e) and a few MLS caliber players. They could be a good fit on the surface, but they have two players in the top five in scoring right now (Nick Zimmerman, formerly with New York Red Bulls and Brian Shriver). They also have Jason Garey (Crew, Dynamo). Could they mix things up? Sure. Would it be worth it for that club to do so? Maybe not.
Over in USL Pro there's a fairly well-known coach at Orlando City SC. Adrian Heath is a long time EPL player who is now trying on coaching in the USA. His record here is good. OCSC is currently in first with a 14-1-4 +25 record. Seattle loaned Michael Tetteh there last year, so there's a relationship. But does a team that's already scored 10 more goals than their next closest opponent really need another goal scorer?
They have another RBNY castoff - Dennis Chin has eight goals. Matthew Luzunaris, formerly with the Earthquakes, has seven goals and two assists. They even have an assist man in the midfield with three goals and seven assists in Kevin Molino.
The Sounders' ties with the Charleston Battery have been previously outlined here. They are 11-7-0 +14 and in second. They actually don't have a forward putting up huge numbers, as their two stats leaders are listed as midfielders. Coach Michael Anhaeuser helped develop Lamar Neagle, Alex Caskey and Osvaldo Alonso. It may be the best fit for Zakuani. He'd even have former Sounder Amadou Sanyang around.
Seattle also has a Reserve match on the road against Earthquakes on August 12th and four competitive matches in 11 days. That CCL tilt against Caledonia AIA looks like a decent time for Zakuani to play.
There are a few challenges facing Steve Zakuani now that we've seen him in a couple of games - match fitness, reading the game and learning which role best suits his current skill set. Whether he goes on loan or not has to be certain that those things all get answered. It may be better that he just stays here.
Update: Orlando City SC notifies Sounder at Heart over twitter than today is USL Pro roster freeze day.