TUKWILA, Wash. — In a season that has so far been defined by injuries, Marcus Hahnemann provides as good an illustration as any in summing up the Seattle Sounders in 2013.
The club signed the veteran goalkeeper late last season mainly as an insurance policy on starter Michael Gspurning. Prior to Hahnemann’s arrival, the Sounders had gone 3-4-6 in games Gspurning missed, while going 12-4-5 in games the Austrian started. The hope was that in the event that Gspurning went down again, the team would have an experienced backup waiting in the wings.
It hasn’t worked that way. As luck would have it, Hahnemann suffered a hamstring injury less than a week before Gspurning went out with his own forearm injury.
“There are no words to describe how frustrating it is,” Hahnemann said. “If Michael was still playing it would’ve been a little bit easier to take. You’d be like, ‘OK, I’m going to get myself fit and I’ll be ready,’ but he goes down in San Jose and you’re thinking, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Just like a nice little kick I didn’t quite need.”
As if the helpless feeling of not being able to contribute when his team needs him weren’t bad enough, the 41-year-old is also keenly aware that his future opportunities are limited by time.
“I’m gutted for the guy, truly gutted for the guy,” Sounders goalkeeping coach Tom Dutra said. “When Mike went down, I just said ‘Wow, it couldn’t be worse timing right now.’
“I feel horrible for him. Timing is just so much of the position – luck and timing. When you’re called upon you want to have the opportunity to do the job.”
With no clear timetable on Gspurning’s return, the possibility remains that Hahnemann could still get his first chance to play in a Sounders regular-season game (his only two appearances have come in CONCACAF Champions League play). Unfortunately, Hahnemann’s not sure when he’ll be back either.
Last Thursday, he was feeling good enough that he was running the stairs at CenturyLink Field. But the next day, his hamstring was acting up again.
“The longest I could run continuously was like one lap, which sounds pretty sad, because my hamstring would just tighten up,” Hahnemann said on Tuesday. “You didn’t have the flexibility to really stretch out. Today I wanted to see if I could get a lap in again and just bombed three. And I was faster than before, I’m striding,looking better. It’s just you’re making leaps every day and so I don’t know. It’s hard to tell.”
Despite the setbacks, he says he’s not yet pondering his post-playing career even after participating in the Sounders’ pregame show last week.
“I’m thinking about my stupid hamstring that’s giving me fits right now,” he said.