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A magical night for Mr. Sounder at Memorial Stadium

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Zach Scott’s testimonial was a beautiful tribute to a club legend

Max Aquino

On a cold, windy night at Memorial Stadium, a pretty significant number of Seattle Sounders fans packed in to send off a club legend in style. Zach Scott, a.k.a. Mr. Sounder, had his retirement celebrated with a testimonial match that included friends, family, and former teammates. Current Sounders Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso, who were with Scott since the inception of Seattle Sounders FC in MLS, coached the teams in what was a fun, raucous, and occasionally impressive game of soccer.

The final score ended 7-5 to Ozzie’s team, which was impressively drafted by the Cuban midfielder the previous week. Steve Zakuani and Nate Jaqua, the latter of whom earned a hat trick, were probably the best guys on the field. Zach Scott’s son Kalei even earned himself a brace for Team Brad, with a little help from the other guys on the field. Memorable highlights included Matt Johnson interviewing former Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller on the pitch during the game,

and Sounders U23 coach Darren Sawatzky hamming it up after being fouled in the box to earn a penalty for Team Brad.

Evans jokingly said afterwards that he was “disappointed with the result” and rued his team’s lack of finishing early in the game.

More seriously though, Evans commended the event for his longtime teammate:

“It’s rare that these kind of nights happen, and I hope that this spreads like wildfire, because this should happen with all club legends, irregardless of if they play for a rival, if they play for a team on the other side of the country, it’s the testament to a lot of hard work that Zach put in, but it’s also this club treating their players as they should be treated. Tonight was a fun night you get to meet new faces, you get to meet faces of olds, and guys can still play, you can see that. Overall, an unbelievable night.”

Evans also said that Scott was “more than worthy of tonight. I’m elated for him. I’m so glad his family’s here. His family gets to play in the game as well, score some goals. Everybody’s just super happy.”

As a coach, Evans praised Kalei Scott, whom he drafted opposite the elder Scott. “Kalei coming up huge for us. He was the 12th man for us on certain occasions, but he came up big with his penalty kick and then finishing one off, so happy for Kalei.” Evans provided an amusing anecdote as well: “He had an interesting halftime comment, that eating a bean and cheese burrito before the game wasn’t the best choice. But he pushed through, so he won on all accounts tonight.”

Evans thought that Zach might be moved up to striker late in the game to cap his testimonial off with a goal, but he wasn’t surprised that his longtime teammate stayed right where he always has in the heart of defense. “Zach doesn’t want to play up top anyways if you ask him. I think it was a very fitting Zach Scott performance tonight. I’m just glad he got the ovation that he deserved.”

The man of the hour was a bit overwhelmed by the occasion, but his constant humility was on display yet again after seeing such a huge crowd make it out to see him off.

“It was the best case out of a very uncomfortable situation. Everybody out here celebrating my career won’t ever feel right, but in that same vein it was very cool to have everybody out here and realize that we were doing something bigger than that: giving back to the community that I’ve made home the last 15 years.”

Zach had quite a few things to say about the game, even if it was uncomfortable for him to accept the praise and adulation from the fans.

On playing in Memorial Stadium with such a diverse set of players:

“It was kind of weird just walking into Memorial Stadium, because I hadn’t done that since 2002. So that’s just kind of a funny way that everything ended full circle. The fact that some incredible soccer players here in the Northwest came out to spend the evening with me, it’s just top notch, I’m very grateful to ECS and the Sounders for doing it.”

On the organizing of the event by ECS:

I’m just incredibly grateful, they didn’t have to do this. They went above and beyond, and just again the fact that they did this not even realizing that it was going to charity makes it all the better. Again, a fantastic night.

On Kalei’s performance in the match:

“It was fun, he’s a great kid. That’s the biggest joy of my life, being here with my family and getting to experience that. It would have been fun to have my daughters out there as well, but he’s a little older and can take the knocks.”

On being coached by Brad and Ozzie:

“That was actually pretty cool. The fact that they would, after a long preseason, spend their night out here with me doing this is just credit to the people that they are. Credit to Ozzie for good drafting, too.”

On wearing a Sounders jersey with a championship star for the first time:

“Feels cool, kind of normal. Maybe I’m a little too close to having been retired, but it still felt good and felt like it was just playing soccer.”