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.”