FRISCO, Texas – Although it was overshadowed by Ugo Ihemelu’s game-winning goal and Fabián Castillo’s stellar return, goalkeeper Kevin Hartman hit a new milestone last week. During last Thursday’s 1-0 victory against New England, he quietly became the first player in MLS history to log over 35,000 career minutes.
“They don’t ever make us aware of that stuff,” Hartman told MLSsoccer.com. “I think it’s one of those things where it’s a nice little token, but nobody ever brings you a plaque or anything. It really is a feather in my hat and something I’m proud of.”
Hartman’s nickname may be "El Gato," but record-breaker could also be an appropriate title. Originally drafted by Los Angeles in 1997, Hartman quickly established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in league after becoming the first to record back-to-back 20-win seasons, earning the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award in 1999 in the process.
WATCH: Hartman pushes Rowe's effort wide
During his 10-year tenure with LA, Hartman set MLS records for most victories by a goalkeeper with 138 and established a Galaxy record for most saves in a game with 12. After being traded to Kansas City in 2006, he went on to capture records for most career saves and most consecutive minutes played.
Just last season, his second with FC Dallas, Hartman became the first MLS goalkeeper to record 100 clean sheets. Now, the 16-year veteran has another accolade to add to his mantel.
“It’s like an internal fortitude,” Hartman said. "I always wanted to be a professional goalkeeper and fortunately for me, I’ve been able to do it for 35,000 minutes here in this league. I certainly feel like I’ve played for a long time, and to hit a milestone like that is something I’m proud of.”
Along with the record-breaking performance, Hartman was able to notch his first clean sheet of the season and helped halt a two-game losing streak. FC Dallas had given up seven goals in their last three games, and Hartman knew it was time to step up.
“I thought we did a very good job making sure players didn’t get behind us,” he said. “I think when we keep play in front of us as a defense, then I think we’re really good individually in terms of blocking shots and winning balls.”
The 37-year-old said he hoped the momentum carries over when FC Dallas host Montreal on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“I think the main thing is for us to play our game and to play up to a level that is acceptable,” Hartman said. “I think when we work hard and when we play up to our expectations, we do a very good job and we really don’t worry about the opposition.
“That being said, Montreal got their first win, and they’re a group that has very talented players and a great head coach in Jesse Marsch. We just have to make sure we’re cognizant of what they bring and what their assets are and try to figure out some of their weaknesses so we can exploit them.”