Chad Marshall will become just the 13th player in MLS history to reach 400 games, when the Seattle Sounders face Orlando City SC on Wednesday night.
Priority number one on Wednesday night for the Seattle Sounders, will understandably be clinching three points and returning to a playoff position in the Western Conference. However, the game will also mark an impressive individual accomplishment for Chad Marshall.
That’s because the clash with Orlando City SC will be Marshall’s 400th MLS game as a player. Combining the regular season, playoffs, U.S. Open and Champions League, he will be just the 13th player in league history to reach this milestone.
The defender has already achieved so much, since being picked second overall in the 2004 MLS draft. His honors include two MLS Cups, one U.S. Cup and four Supporter’s Shields.
Individually, Marshall has been named MLS Defender of the Year on three occasions, while also picking up a trio of nominations to the MLS Best XI. As such, it should come as little surprise he has been around long enough to reach 400 games.
Marshall discussed his latest (pending) achievement on Tuesday, after practice. Speaking to The Seattle Times‘ Geoff Baker and other members of the media, he said:
"“I’ve been really fortunate to stay relatively healthy, which has been huge. Not everyone can say that. In that respect, I’ve been able to be a part of some great teams. I’ve done a good job taking care of my body and making an impact on the field.”"
In respect of taking care of his body, this leads to the question of how much longer the 32-year old will continue to play? More to the point, what will it take to advance up the list for all-time appearances?
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After Wednesday, Marshall will be tied in 12th place on 400 games, along with Jack Jewsbury. However, as Baker notes, this will still leave him some way short of the all-time record of 507 appearances, held by Kevin Hartman, who has now retired.
Nick Rimando is in second place, with 496 games and is still going strong at the age of 37. Both have a considerable advantage as goalkeepers, a position renowned for its longevity over outfield players.
In fairness to Marshall, he probably hasn’t given much thought to chasing the record. He wasn’t even aware of his impending milestone until Tuesday morning, admitting it made him feel old.
Regardless, the Riverside, California native is showing little sign of slowing down. In fact, his average games (and starts) per season since coming to Seattle, is higher than the 10 years he spent with Columbus Crew. (In addition, he was recalled to the US Men’s National Team in January, after a nearly seven-year absence.
As long as Marshall continues to feel good and remain healthy, he should be around for some time yet. And if he is, who knows how close he will get to Hartman’s record?
What’s impressed you most about Marshall’s time in Seattle? Further, how much longer do you predict he will play for, before retiring? Share your thoughts in the comments section.