When last we saw Mike Fucito, he was jumping into the arms of teammates while celebrating what would turn out to be a game-winning goal against the Kansas City Wizards.
That was April 17.
Within days of that score, it was learned that Fucito had hurt his knee during the match (but not during the celebration) and would likely miss some time. But his knee refused to heal and he eventually had to undergo surgery in late May.
Fucito ended up spending about four months on the injury list before being activated before the match at Marathon. He made his first appearance on the 18-man gameday roster during the home match against Monterrey and is practicing at full speed. It seems only a matter of time before he returns to the field.
I had a relatively brief discussion with him today and wanted to share it in a Q&A format:
Q: How are you feeling these days?
A: Good, good.
Q: What's your match fitness at right now? Are you ready to go a full 90?
A: I think 90 right now would be a stretch. But I feel good, my body feels good. The hardest thing to get is that last little bit of fitenss because you can really only get that from playing games. That will take a little bit, but I’m ready to go.
Q: What's the recovery been like?
A: It was going from a really big high to a period of frustration for sure. Not knowing exactly the time frame on the knee and then having to get surgery and sitting out for a while, you’re kind of starting from scratch. All that work you put in during preseason, you have to do it all over again and it’s harder during the season, too. Our fitness coach (David Tenney) knows what he’s doing and he works us pretty hard so we can get out there as soon as possible.
Q: Are you able to take any positives out of being on the sidelines and having to take a step back?
A: Yeah, you know soccer is just as much mental as it is physical. You get to have a chance to sit back and notice things that maybe you passed over when you’re playing. It’s definitely a different perspective. If anything, you appreciate it a lot more when you come back. My mood has been really good because it’s just fun to practice again. Little things like that.
Q: The last time Sounders fans got to see you was after you scored against Kansas City. What do you expect your return to the field to be like?
A: I don’t know, I’ll be interested to see. We have a lot of games coming up, so I hope there will be an opportunity. I’m excited to be back. The fans are great.
Q: This season seems to be particularly well suited for a player to miss some time and have a chance to come back because of the fixture congestion. Did it help your mental outlook to know that there were going to be lots of opportunities to play?
A: Yes, I think it definitely helped. At the time I came back, it was right when Champions League was starting so it was like a fresh start in a way. Obviously the MLS season is going on, but it did help knowing that we were going to need everyone and that we’re entering a tough stretch.