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Marcus Hahnemann, a great “get” for the Sounders

Sep 18, 2012, 10:28 AM EDT

Marcus Hahnemann

I continue to be amazed by how “thrifty” MLS bean counters get when it comes to goalkeepers.

Just a WAG here (a “wild-ass guess”), but I’d estimate that a good goalkeeper can be worth an additional 6-8 points over the course of an MLS season versus an average one. And that’s not even counting the intangible benefits of a veteran in goal, one happy to provide guidance off the field and learned information to defenders on match day.

And yet, plenty of MLS teams tend to be economical when it comes to men in gloves.

So perhaps it should not have been surprising … but I was still curious that an MLS team still in playoff contention or perhaps in greater need of a starting contender could not put together a deal any sooner to bring in U.S. international Marcus Hahnemann. He says he was essentially retired, having not returned to England after backing up Tim Howard at Everton last season.

Seattle finally did approach Hahnemann, but the Sounders’ goalkeeping situation is fairly solid behind Michael Gspurning. It looks like a great move.

Salary figures aren’t available yet, but it certainly doesn’t sound like Seattle paid much to get the veteran backstopper. Yes, he’s 40 years old. But Kasey Keller was almost 42 by the time he last stood in Seattle goal. Brad Friedel is 41 and simply refuses to go gently, declining through performance to give up his spot in Tottenham goal, in one of the world’s top leagues.

Hahnemann hasn’t been a regular in goal since 2010 at Wolves, which means he’s been spared plenty of wear and tear since then.

The guy has always been a solid locker room presence, which is why he was the long-time choice for emergency duty in the U.S. camp. (National team coaches favor a No. 3 who is content to be a solid practice presence and sure to be a good fellow in all other team activities.)

So, Hahnemann is now on duty at CenturyLink Field. If Gspurning falls, the Sounders are in good, er, hands.

Here’s a great Q&A from Joshua Mayers of The Seattle Times. Among the many great nuggets, Hahnemann reveals that he’s looking at this as a 14-month project rather than a two-month stop-gap.

Let’s say 14 months. Let’s shoot for that and then we’ll revisit things next year. I hope to be around next year. We’ll see how the old legs and everything goes through. I felt pretty good today, then (Babayele Sodade) was smashing goals past me at the end of training, so maybe not so good. But that’s one of those things. You just keep going and we’ll see where it takes us.”

  1. dws110 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I don’t think Hahnemann would have played for another team. He bought a house in the Seattle area, moved his wife and kids back to the US, and was pretty much retired. Toronto got a draft pick in exchange for an essentially useless allocation spot (as Marcus was the only potential allocation guy), and the fact that they’re terrible means they’ll be right back at the top for allocation next time around, so it was a net gain for TFC. Marcus has said for years that he wants to live in the Seattle area when he’s done, so even if a team like New Jersey or Philly moved to get the allocation spot, I don’t think he would have signed.

  2. florean - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Just to be clear, he’s had a house in Seattle since the 90’s. He was never going to go anywhere else, which is why it cost virtually nothing for Seattle to trade up. He wasn’t going to sign with MLS until that deal was done, so Toronto FC had no leverage. They could get something Friday or nothing Saturday.

  3. Steve Davis - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Certainly fair points made above, but I cannot help but wonder if someone had gotten involved early, made a generous enough offer and presented a chance for Hahnemann to be a starter …

  4. stackhousesoccer - Sep 18, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Might Montreal be in playoff position now if they had been aggressive earlier in the spring / summer and signed him? Vancouver? They could be in stronger position now with a stronger GK. Why didn’t New York give it a try when Meara got hurt? Plenty of teams could have improved the position, assuming they could get him out of that cabin.

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