Brian Mullan knew it was coming.
The boos showered down early and often from the hostile Sounders crowd and onto the Rapids’ veteran midfielder during Saturday’s 1-0 loss at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Mullan’s hard tackle on Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani last April broke the Congolese player’s leg and ended Zakuani’s season. That tackle resulted in a record ten-game suspension for Mullan, and a harsh response from Seattle fans on Saturday.
A fan favorite in Seattle before his injury, the fans at CenturyLink Field defended Zakuani by letting Mullan have it early and often, but Mullan was able to shake off the distractions and found himself in the thick of the Rapids’ attack all afternoon. The midfielder even found the back of the net in the 33rd minute, however he was ruled offside and his potential storybook goal was flagged off.
In the meantime, Mullan is happy to have the game — and the accompanying distractions — behind him.
“Very glad,” Mullan said about his feelings to have the game over with. “There are a lot of great fans in this city as well as a lot of nerves leading up to the game. I applaud the fans, they did a good job and conducted themselves professionally and consistently with their reputation.”
Mullan played the full 90 minutes, receiving a yellow card in the 87th minute for a takedown on Osvaldo Alonso and also drew yellow from Zach Scott in the 48th minute. Mullan’s play was one of the Rapids’ bright spots on the afternoon, as Rapids coach Oscar Pareja pointed out in his post-game comments.
“Only the people who know Brian know what a professional he is, and he showed that today,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “The way he performed today was with a sense of responsibility for his club and his self. I’m happy for Brian.”
Mullan and the Rapids (3-3-0) hope to snap a two-game losing streak when they face the struggling LA Galaxy (1-3-0) next Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9 pm ET, MLS Live).