The date was June 26, 1999, and Marcus Hahnemann was playing his final game with the Colorado Rapids.
After two years with the Seattle Sounders in the A-League, where he led them to consecutive championships in 1995 and 1996, he moved to MLS with the Rapids, where he starred for two and a half seasons before being beckoned to England to play for Fulham.
In that final appearance he shut out the Chicago Fire 2-0 in front of 10,895 fans at Denver’s Mile High Stadium. Among his teammates in the match were Sporting Kansas City Head Coach Peter Vermes, Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo and the top assistant coach for the Panama National Team, Jorge Dely Valdes.
On Saturday night at CenturyLink Field – 14 years, one month and eight days later – Hahnemann made his first MLS appearance for Sounders FC against FC Dallas. Just like he did in his last match with Colorado, Hahnemann posted a shutout, winning 3-0 over Dallas.
“It was a great night for Marcus. I'm glad he was healthy enough to be able to come back,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “I think Marcus’ presence and his experience certainly helped us today. It’s one of the reasons we brought him here and I’m really thrilled for him to be able to get out on the field in a league game in front of his home crowd in his home city. There’s no better feeling.”
His return very easily could have come two weeks earlier, but just before starting goalkeeper Michael Gspurning suffered a sprained forearm against the San Jose Earthquakes, Hahnemann strained his hamstring in a Reserve League game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“It's a really big hamstring, so it took a while for us to get that hamstring back into shape,” joked Schmid.
And while he confessed that he wasn’t quite 100-percent, Hahnemann said he was healthy enough to play and couldn’t be stopped from getting on the field to play in front of the crowd of 39,360 in his hometown.
“We got a clean sheet which was absolutely awesome and I got one more chance to play in front of this crowd,” Hahnemann said. “It’s great. I’ll take it.”
In the match, he backstopped a Seattle defense that limited Dallas to just eight shots and didn’t allow a single shot on goal. The shutout victory gave him 40 career MLS wins and 14 career shutouts and after the match he couldn’t contain the smile on his face as he looked around the stadium.
“You know, it’s an incredible time. My career has been unbelievable,” he said. “Standing here and listening to the crowd afterwards, I’m just soaking it in because it is just incredible.”