Marcus Hahnemann was solid in goal Tuesday, when the Sounders FC opened its CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series with a 1-0 loss to Santos Laguna.
But however impressive the performance, Hahnemann understood he was not going to retain the starting job. That will return to Michael Gspurning on Tuesday, when the series resolves in Mexico.
And while Hahnemann said there is some frustration in that, he also said it’s a price he’s willing to pay to end his long career as a member of his hometown Sounders.
“(A reserve role) is not what I want to do, but it’s my team,” Hahnemann said last month after a Reserve League appearance. “If this was any other team, I wouldn’t do it. I think I would have quit a long time ago. But because it’s my team, I’ll be a part of it in one fashion or another. Right now, it’s as good as it gets for me.”
For now, that reserve role is the only one available to Hahnemann, who played at Kentridge High and was a three-time All-American at Seattle Pacific University and began his pro career in 1994 with the USL Sounders.
Gspurning led Major League Soccer in goals-against average last season (0.73), went into preseason camp as the undisputed starter, and has done nothing this season to change that. He sat out the Santos opener only because he was serving a one-game suspension because of a yellow-card accumulation.
“(Hahnemann) played well,” coach Sigi Schmid said Thursday. “He’s an experienced player, and he’s a good goalkeeper. … But we’ve been happy with Michael, and Michael’s done very well in the games and has kept us in games at times. Michael’s done nothing to put that job into jeopardy. And Marcus, I think he’s been around enough to understand that. It’s good to know that we have two quality goalkeepers.”
Hahnemann, 40, said the Sounders played well enough for most of the 90 minutes. And he made four saves along the way.
The decisive moment came in the 54th minute when Carlos Quintero put a shot on goal, and Hahnemann was able to block it but not control it. The deflection went directly to Santos’ Herculez Gomez – who was briefly a teammate of Hahnemann’s on the USL Sounders – and he smacked it inside the far post.
“Everyone’s a little bit frustrated – nobody more than myself,” Hahnemann said. “I made the initial save, but I ended up hitting it right to Herculez. I got a great jump on the ball, too. It was going in the corner and then comes back on you a little and jams you, and sometimes you can’t do anything else with it. And he just smashed it into the top corner – which wasn’t very friendly, but that’s the way it goes.”
Forward Obafemi Martins has been ruled out for the Santos match while seeking treatment for a tendon injury in his knee. “He’s had this injury before,” Schmid said. “He was treated by a doctor, so we’ve let him go back to see that doctor. He’ll be back early next week. We’ll be in communication and then hopefully whatever the guy did the last time to resolve it, he’ll be able to do it again.” The Sounders would say only that Martins will meet with the doctor outside of the United States. … Forward Eddie Johnson (toe/hamstring) participated in early on-field warm-ups with the Sounders on Thursday but was not part of the full practice. His status for next week is undetermined. Schmid had said earlier that forward David Estrada (eye) will not be available for Santos. … Seattle returns to training today and travels to Torreon, Mexico, on Sunday. … The Sounders return to MLS play April 13 when New England visits CenturyLink Field.