One year, eight months and 25 days.
That’s how much time separated the Sounders FC’s 3-1 win over Marathon of Honduras on Wednesday night and Marcus Hahnemann’s last start, a 1-0 loss to Stoke City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
In between, he played in several reserve league games for Everton while backing up Tim Howard, but Wednesday marked his return to competitive action and his return to Seattle, where his pro career started back in 1994.
Long wanting a homecoming to Seattle, the opportunity finally arose this summer and against Marathon he made his return.
“To really get back out there, and the training has been great and I’ve been getting sharper every day but to actually get out there on the field, it was awesome,” he smiled after Seattle clinched the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League with their fourth straight win in the group stage.
While he admits to some rust in front of net, he did handle four saves while just letting in one goal. His critiques were not in his shot-stopping, though, but rather in his distribution.
“I’m not used to giving the ball out. I’m used to pumping it as far as I can in England,” he said. “Everybody has got a learning curve, but I thought today was pretty good.”
With the first in-game test now behind him, Hahnemann is set to provide the Sounders the best depth in the league at the goalkeeper position. Already very strong with the league’s top statistical goalkeeper in Michael Gspurning, they now have a veteran backup that has a tremendous amount of experience behind him.
That realization hit Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid late in the match when he turned to goalkeeper coach and said, “That’s not a bad backup goalkeeper. That’s pretty good.”
Schmid added in his post-game press conference, “You could see his experience, you could see him talking to the players in front of him. Those are things that you only get through years of playing and the confidence that he has in himself. Certainly, I don’t think, with Marcus now in shape, there’s a team in the league with two better goalkeepers than Gspurning and Hahnemann. That’s something that makes you feel really good as a coach and I know the team has a lot of confidence in them.”
With one more match on the league calendar, the Sounders are preparing to face Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup playoffs for the second straight season. They will put the wraps on the regular season on Sunday with a road match against the LA Galaxy.