I keep seeing Marcus Hahnemann making saves that are not merely quality stuff, but stops that are nudging into the “game-changing” category.
I saw it two weeks ago when Seattle began the Desert Diamond Cup in a contest against New England. And I saw it again Saturday night in the tournament final, as Hahnemann did his part in the Sounders’ 1-0 win to claim the tourney final in Tucson.
Seattle’s goalkeeper brilliantly turned away Alvaro Saborio’s header within the game’s first 20 minutes and later manufactured a swell double save, just before the break. He was quick off his line on a couple of occasions, too. (A couple of rebounds left in bad places do, on the other hand, need a little tidying up.)
At age 40 there seems to be little question that Hahnemann, who made two U.S. World Cup rosters as the country’s third ‘keeper, can do the job in MLS. You have to say, with Michael Gspurning as the starter (and among the league’s standard bearers in the nets, according to our PST goalkeeper rankings), Seattle has one of the best overall situations in goal in MLS. Very possibly the best.
To know how important a little goalkeeping “insurance” can be – having a strong backup, that is – look only to Seattle’s 2012 campaign.
Gspurning missed 14 league starts last year, and his team struggled without him. With the Austrian vet between the pipes the Sounders were a healthy 12-4-5 and well under a goal a game scoring allowed. Without him, just 3-4-6 and well over a goal a game.
That’s a mighty difference.
Here are the highlights from Seattle’s 1-0 win Saturday in the desert, a contest shown live on NBC Sports Network:
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With a raucous Anfield behind them for the second leg, Liverpool shouldn’t be too frustrated despite the dramatics of its stoppage time loss at Villarreal.
That’s a big part of Jurgen Klopp‘s logic following the 1-0 first leg loss in the UEFA Europa League semifinal, one that came when Adrian scored in the final minute of stoppage time.
[ MORE: Match recap | Why Klopp kept Sturridge on bench ]
Klopp seemed, rightly, more concerned with where Alberto Moreno was on the goal.
From the BBC:
“Of course I’m not too happy with the goal we conceded in the last second. Counter-attacking in the 92nd minute makes not much sense – but it is only the first leg.
“It is 1-0 and they have to come to Anfield where we know how strong we are. We had our moments, we defended really good. This race is not over.
“If we had enough players around the box it was no problem but they played this one chip ball over Kolo [Toure], I don’t know where Alberto [Moreno] was in this moment but that was the only big mistake we made in this game and they scored with it.”
Liverpool had the best odds to win the tournament heading into the first leg, but now needs a multi-goal or shutout win to beat a tricky Villarreal, which enjoys a nice counter attack (They could, of course, also win with a 1-0 win and penalty kicks, but you know what we mean here).
Many were wondering why Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp decided not to use striker Daniel Sturridge in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Villarreal in the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Europa League semifinal.
Klopp says the decision was completely tactical, and laid it at the feet of Sturridge not having experience in Thursday’s desired formation.
[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]
These comments were from before the match. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts after the loss.
“It was a very difficult decision to be honest. I thought about a lot of things and at the end I decided for a little more stability.
In a 4-3-3 we didn’t play with Daniel until now. For today, this 4-3-3, 4-5-1, this very flexible style it makes sense that the player played together before.”
Even well-regarded managers make mistakes, and Liverpool was very much missing a striker’s touch on Thursday (Roberto Firmino did hit the post, and looked somewhat dangerous).
The “FIFA Slayer” is in the building. Rog sits down with Loretta Lynch, the 83rd attorney general of the United States, for an interesting conversation in the latest MiB pod.
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Vitolo scored a goal then drew a penalty, and Kevin Gameiro converted the chance as Sevilla picked up a pair of road goals in a 2-2 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday in the first leg of the clubs’ UEFA Europa League semifinal.
Marlos had a goal and an assist for Shakhtar Donetsk, with Taras Stepanenko scoring Shakhtar’s other goal.
Sevilla has won the last two tournaments, and hosts Thursday’s second leg with an advantage toward reaching a third.
[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]
Gameiro set up that oh-so-pivotal road goal in the first 6 minutes, sliding the ball to Vitolo for his left-footed finish between the legs of Andriy Pyatov.
But the Ukranians weren’t slow to respond, and Shakhtar netted twice before halftime. First Marlos scored a left-footed of his own from Yaroslav Rakitskiy in the 21st minute, and then Marlos turned provider for Stepanenko’s headed finish in the 35th.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]