One of the hot topics of discussion lately has been which country Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani will choose to play for.
As a native of the Republic of Congo, he's currently eligible to play there. He's also an English citizen, so he's eligible to play for the Three Lions. With his green card just days away, he would also appear to be well on his way to being eligible to play for the United States.
Zakuani says all three countries are viable options, but that he's already made his choice and is keeping that to himself for now. When will the rest of us find out?
"When I play," he said after Tuesday's training session.
Predicting what country he'll choose is really just glorified guessing, but he did admit to being quite flattered by Landon Donovan's recent proclamation that he'd be pushing USMNT coach Bob Bradely to cap Zakuani if he were to become eligible.
"I think that’s probably the highest compliment you can get in this league," Zakuani said, noting how impressed he was with Donovan's willingness to focus on defense in the first leg of their playoff. "For me, he’s the best player in the league. The way he sacrificed for his team was unbelievable. That’s an example for everyone.
"To hear someone say that is great, but it doesn’t change my approach against him. I’m not going to be nice to him."
Keller shares his thoughts on Nkufo's yellow card
Kasey Keller may be Blaise Nkufo's teammate, but the goalkeeper brotherhood apparently runs a little deeper.
Nkufo, as you may remember, received a yellow card for interfering with Donovan Ricketts' attempt to make a pass toward the end of the game. Keller appreciated the effort to make something happen, but he was a bit relieved that Nkufo didn't get away with it.
"I understand trying it, I guess," Keller said. "You never know what a ref is going to do, but the ref got it right. That’s what it is, it’s a yellow card and unsportsmanlike and you just take it.
"Strange things happen, but you can’t take the ball off the goalkeeper when he’s trying to distribute. That’s always been the rule and that’s not allowed. I’m just happy the MLS refs know the rule. I’m happy with that because that way it won’t happen to me. I don’t think Blaise is the kind of player that you’re worried about getting that second yellow card. I understand the frustration in trying something, but the ref got it right"
Parke questionable for Sunday's game
Jeff Parke was the only addition to the Sounders' injury report, being officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid confirmed that Parke sprained his ankle last Sunday and will be held out from practice at least until Friday.
If Parke is unable to go, Tyrone Marshall would get the start.
"Tyrone is good, he’s ready to go," Schmid said. "He’s a pro, he’s been around this league a long time. He and I have been together for a good amount of time as well. He’s ready to go and we’re completely confident in his ability to step in and play."
Montero grateful to have green card
Fredy Montero got his green card on Monday, just the first of several Sounders who are apparently pursuing the option. Zakuani said he'll be getting his green card any day now and Leo Gonzalez and Nkufo are apparently seeking theirs as well. Players with green cards do not count against the international limit, meaning the team will have added flexibility when assembling the roster.
"It’s something that is necessary," said Montero, whose English is quickly improving but still prefers to conduct interviews through a translator. "It opens a lot of doors in the United States. Not only for the team, but for my personal life and what I think about doing in the future. The team benefits, but I also benefit."
Montero pointed out that the process went considerably faster for him that it does for most applicants, something he seemed humbled by.
"A lot of people have a very difficult time getting their green card," Montero said. "Thank god I have mine now and I just want to keep doing a good job for the team that helped me get it and keep playing good soccer."