TUKWILA, Wash. – Assuming all goes according to plan, Michael Gspurning should once again be the Seattle Sounders goalkeeper when they take the field on Saturday against the Chicago Fire (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). But you know what they say about best-laid plans.
Gspurning didn’t participate fully in Thursday’s training session, and has been nursing an undisclosed ailment since at least Saturday. Head coach Sigi Schmid sounded confident that the Austrian netminder would be ready, but stopped short of guaranteeing his place in the lineup.
If Gspurning can’t go, the job will fall to second-year goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, who received a ringing endorsement from Schmid.
“My faith in Meredith is fantastic,” Schmid said.
Schmid favorably compared Meredith, specifically, to New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who has started seven games this year as a rookie. The Sounders got a close look at Meara during their pre-SuperDraft combine, Schmid said.
“I think if Bryan Meredith were on another team, I think he’d be a starter in this league,” Schmid said.
In other injury news, Schmid sounded very optimistic about Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson at least being available against the Fire. The chances of Álvaro Fernández returning from his one-week absence did not sound as promising.
“Fernández is coming along well, but this weekend is probably too early for him,” Schmid said.
With the Sounders preparing to play five matches in 15 days, Schmid also indicated defender Patrick Ianni may be given some rest. Ianni, who is the only Sounders defender to play in all five matches, has been dealing with a back injury and has mostly been training on the side this week.
If Ianni is unable to go, that would likely open the door for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to return to the starting lineup for the first time since he left at halftime of the Sounders match against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 31.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.