Coach Sigi Schmid confirmed what we have all suspected for several weeks: Marcus Hahnemann will start in goal for the Sounders in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League group game.
“For him, I’m sure it’s going to be a special moment,” Schmid said, “because he gets the opportunity to play for the Sounders, which is something that he’s always wanted to do as a guy who grew up here and played his college ball here and got big with the old USL Sounders and so forth. I think it’s going to be a special occasion for Marcus. It will be great for our fans to be able to come and see that and see the opportunity for him because it will be a unique day. He’s calm right now, but I’m sure he’ll be a little emotional probably before the game.”
Seattle, which has already clinched advancement to the quarterfinals, kicks off at 7 p.m. against CD Marathon of Honduras.
About 5,100 tickets have been sold, meaning there are plenty still available. We could see another record low crowd for a Sounders game at CenturyLink Field (the low mark is 7,767 set in the last CCL home game against Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago).
Back to Hahnemann, Schmid commended the training regimen the Sounders have had for the veteran goalkeeper — pushing him and then letting him recover. Performance has reflected that.
“He feels pretty good,” the coach said. “You can see his sharpness come back, which is very good. His experience, his organizational abilities are very good when you put him into a scrimmage and so forth. He’s coming up with big saves. All of those things are all positives.”
So is Hahnemann going to come back in 2013? That’s an option, and one that’s up to the him.
Schmid said there’s a place for him if he wants it.
“That’s something where we’ll sit down at the end of the year and talk about and discuss,” Schmid said. “But, for sure, if Marcus has an interest (in coming back), he knows what the situation is. Right now, obviously we’re very happy with Michael Gspurning, and Michael has proven himself to be our No. 1 and is very solid. But certainly if you can have a guy like Marcus, with his experience and what he provides for you on the soccer field, but also what he provides for you in the locker room… and our goal is always to play in a lot of games, and so there are going to be opportunities to play there, as well. It would be great if he wanted to do it, but I think at his age Marcus deserves to step away from the stage, too, when he wants to. Right now, he wanted to come back for this opportunity. But maybe one more year fits in.”
Here’s a link to our chat with Hahnemann on Monday.