Seattle Sounders FC defender Jeff Parke seemed back to normal Sunday.
Meaning he was standing upright, his nose wasn’t pointing crookedly to either side, and he wasn’t speaking in tongues.
None of that had seemed possible for a time in the second half of the Sounders’ win over Chicago on Saturday, when Fire midfielder Mike Videira booted a shot directly into Parke’s face.
Parke’s legs shot up like a cartoon character as the rest of him fell to the turf like a stone.
“Luckily – I’ve been out cold before on something similar – and I didn’t slam my head back,” he said. “That’s one of the main reasons I wasn’t out. But all I remember is, ‘Wow, I went down fast.’ It hit me so solid – it wasn’t like it hit me just in the chin or forehead – and now my nose is a little swollen. I’d rather that than be talking you today saying, ‘I don’t know how long I’m going to be out.’ ”
Parke was off for only a few minutes, walking briefly to the sideline before returning to the pitch.
It’s all part of the job, coach Sigi Schmid said.
“Unfortunately, that’s the life of a defender,” Schmid said. “I’ve taken a few as well, and everybody that’s played in the back has taken a few. But it’s certainly good that he (and Osvaldo Alonso, who took a similar shot) are still walking around and actually know what city they’re in and what team they belong to.”
Once it was apparent that Parke wasn’t seriously hurt, his teammates felt free to joke about at the shot, which ricocheted approximately 50 yards off Parke’s face before rolling across the center line and finally the touchline on the Chicago end.
“That’s what a lot of guys were laughing at,” Parke said. “They were like, ‘If you saw how far it went back you would have been laughing pretty hard.’ It was good.”
The Sounders played an intrasquad game Sunday morning at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila to get work for some players who didn’t play against Chicago. The match took the place of an official MLS Reserve League match that had been scheduled at Chivas USA, but was postponed. “It served its purpose,” Schmid said. “We needed them to play and get an extended amount of playing time to maintain their fitness and make sure that they’re ready. Every time you play it’s a chance to showcase yourself and make a case for why you should be included on the field or in the 18 (on the active roster) – or you build a case for why you’re not in the 18.” The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Nate Jaqua and Miguel Montano scoring the goals. The Sounders are off today. They return to Starfire on Tuesday to begin training for their Saturday match at Philadelphia. Fredy Montero (wrist) will be medically reassessed today and is expected to be cleared to resume training Tuesday.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer