Back when Marcus Hahnemann signed with the Seattle Sounders fresh out of college in 1994, the Sounders had one main rival – the Vancouver 86ers.
In his three years with the club before heading to the greener pastures of Major League Soccer and later England, Hahnemann and the Sounders dominated that rivalry.
In 1994, Seattle went 4-1 against their rivals to the north. 1995 saw them go 7-1 against Vancouver, including wins in the two playoff games they played on the way to the Sounders first of two consecutive A-League championships. Then in 1996, Hahnemann’s final season in Seattle, they went 4-2.
“It was a really good rivalry. My family always went up for the games and we absolutely loved it,” Hahnemann said. “It was always pretty entertaining. You always had a great atmosphere. Now with Vancouver, Seattle and Portland, that’s really cemented as a great series of games and I think everyone really enjoys it.”
While the Sounders FC and Whitecaps FC meet this weekend in their third and final matchup of the 2012 MLS regular season, Hahnemann is not yet ready to suit up with Seattle after just signing with the club two weeks earlier.
However, the bus trip the team is taking north is very reminiscent of the road trips Hahnemann grew accustomed to in his 13 seasons in England with Fulham, Rochdale, Reading, Wolverhampton and Everton.
“We would fly maybe once or twice a year and that was it,” he smiled. “It’s nice to be able to go to away games and not have to fly.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is scheduled for 6 pm Pacific Time with national television coverage on NBC Sports and the local radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.
What’s in a number?
The Sounders FC had 30 players on their roster when they signed Hahnemann on September 14. That means 30 jersey numbers were taken up and very few available for Hahnemann to select.
In his career, he had worn 1, 12, 13, 23, 24 and 31. Of those, only 24 was available, so Hahnemann selected the same number that he wore with the US National Team during his time with them in 2007 and 2008.
“2 and 9 are just not very good goalkeeper numbers,” Hahnemann laughed.
In his previous stint with the Sounders in the A-League, Hahnemann wore number 18.