TUKWILA, Wash. — In just a short time on the field, Seattle Sounders forward Mike Fucito has made a big impact.
Now healthy after being limited by muscular injuries in the first third of the season, the Seattle fan favorite managed to lead the team with three shots in his substitute appearance against Sporting Kansas City.
“It felt good to be out there,” Fucito said. “I had a couple of chances at goal that were blocked. It felt positive. I thought I brought some energy. Looking to get that [first] goal soon.”
Fucito’s presence will be important in the near future. With the long-term injury to O’Brian White and the preseason departure of Blaise Nkufo, Seattle’s forward line has been decimated. Add in the struggles of Nate Jaqua as the target forward and simply finding someone to play alongside Fredy Montero has been difficult.
Roger Levesque performed well in the starting role alongside Montero on Saturday and will figure in the team going forward, along with Fucito. Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said that the workload given to Jaqua so soon after his return from injury may have put him in a “physical low.” With two games coming up this week, Schmid will need all his options available.
One of those options is Fucito, a third-year player who impressed last season in the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.
“He did all right,” Schmid said of Fucito’s 21-minute performance against Kansas City. “I thought he came in, he got a couple of chances, a couple shots on goal.
“[James] Riley laid a good ball into him from the right that he got an opportunity on, the ball that Nate Jaqua laid to him as well he got a good opportunity. He had a shot off a corner. He did those things. He looked reasonably sharp.”
Fucito offered his assessment of the Sporting KC game, which saw Seattle put in an unremarkable performance before escaping with a 1-0 victory in additional time. To Fucito, finding the right balance between probing the defense’s weaknesses and attacking and will be key for Seattle in difficult games against FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake.
“I thought we were a little bit more patient in our buildup, but I think that being said, sometimes maybe we didn't penetrate when we should have,” Fucito said. “We've got to do a better job of picking our times [to go forward].”