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April 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM

A stop and chat with Marcus Hahnemann before he starts Tuesday’s CCL game

hahnemann mug 2013Sounders FC’s starting goalkeeper, Michael Gspurning, won’t be available for Tuesday’s start to a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Mexico’s Santos Laguna. The news was covered last week, when it was revealed Gspurning received his second yellow card of the tournament in a quarterfinal game against Tigres UANL — and thus an automatic one-game suspension.

That means Seattle native Marcus Hahnemann (right) will get the call in Tuesday’s big game. Reporters got a chance to catch up with the veteran after Monday’s practice, and here is a transcript:

*     *     *

(How are you feeling going into this game?) “Pretty good. We had a good training today. It’s nice, after a disappointing result on Saturday, to come in after a travel day yesterday and you can’t even think about Saturday anymore. There’s no time to dwell on it. You just have to go in and be ready for Tuesday. So it’s kind of put it behind you as soon as possible and hopefully get a good result tomorrow. We need a little jumpstart to get our season going.”

(Has this start been a surprise?) “Yeah. And then the preseason we had… we had a great preseason. We cruised through most of the games. The first team, switching, young team, switching, and with all the personnel changes, we thought we were cruising. Maybe that’s what happened. It was all a little bit too easy, and you come in to the start of the season and everything has been a grind. We haven’t got any luck, but we have to work hard. Ultimately, it’s going to be tough tomorrow night against Santos. Those teams control the ball so well and have a lot of good players. On the turf, at home, we’re going to put it to them, I hope.”

(Is there extra pressure in the home game of a series that values away goals?) “Obviously you want to keep a clean sheet, because that’s so important. You want to stop them getting away goals. If we can do that the way our defense has been in the past… we’ve been spot on. We looked good against Tigres. A little bit more luck, and we’re going to have to obviously change personnel because a few guys are out injured and we just played on Saturday. We’ll see what the team is tomorrow and hopefully it’ll be all right.”

(When was the last time you played a Mexican team?) “I have no idea. (laughs)”

(Have you ever?) “I must have.”

(Any extra motivation there?) “Not really. It doesn’t really matter. I don’t care who it is. Salt Lake. LA. Mexican team. Brazilian team. English team. It’s still a game of soccer and we want to go out and win, especially in front of our home fans. We want to play exciting soccer. We want to score goals. We want to put pressure on them and do all those things. I don’t think we’ve quite done that this year. I know sometimes the cup games are a distraction and everyone dreads them, but now we’re just kind of sitting in last place, and sometimes you need these things to maybe just give us a little jumpstart to the season.”

(You haven’t played a full game with the first team since last year. Does that make it difficult?) “No, training is difficult. Games are easy. Try training with (goalkeeper coach Tommy Dutra) for an hour and a half. That’s hard. Games are a piece of cake.”

(How does your experience factor in?) “Well, we’re going to have a lot of young guys out there, so hopefully my yelling can keep them in the right spot, and hopefully they don’t have to run too much. I’m yelling before stuff happens to keep them in the right position. I think it’s pointless yelling at someone when they couldn’t make a pass and it doesn’t go where they want it to. That doesn’t do anything. Of course he didn’t mean to kick it out of play. Because I’m going to do that tomorrow. Guaranteed. I’ll kick it into the stands for some reason — trying to play someone down the line and there’s going to be one lucky fan walking away with a ball. Obviously we don’t mean to do that. It’s the organizational side that I think I’m fairly good at.”

(What does it mean to you to play in a game of this magnitude?) “It’s huge. For myself, every time I get to put on the shirt, it has huge meaning. Now all of a sudden it’s Champions League … it’s a huge deal. Tigres was the first time a U.S. team has ever gotten past a Mexican team in a two-game series. Hopefully we’ll make it another time.”

(How many friends and family in the stands for this one?) “I have no idea. I’m not in charge of that stuff. (laughs)”


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