TUKWILA, Wash. — Giving up three goals was clearly not the way Michael Gspurning wanted to return from a four-game absence.
At the same time, the big Austrian was happy to get this past Saturday's performance at Houston — a 3-1 Sounders loss to the Dynamo — out of the way heading into an even bigger-than-normal Cascadia Cup match against the Portland Timbers on Sunday (10 pm ET, ESPN2).
“Absolutely,” Gspurning said when asked if he’s glad to have the first game out of the way. “It’s always tough to come back in a game like this. Of course, Houston was also a tough game, but it’s good. I’m definitely more ready to go now and everything will come back, the self confidence and everything with the games. That’s normal.”
This was just the second time in his MLS career that Gspurning has allowed more than two goals in a game. But two of the goals were hardly his fault, as one was an absolute laser off the foot of Giles Barnes from about 30 yards out and the other came on rebound that took an unfortunate bounce off the crossbar.
The first goal, however, he’d probably like to have back. Gspurning came off his line in an attempt to collect a ball to the side of the goal, but Will Bruin was able to beat him to it and find Barnes, who hammered the ball into an open net.
“It was a weird situation because in the beginning you didn’t see if the ball is coming through or not,” Gspurning explained after the game. “Then the ball bounces from his leg a little to the outside and I thought, ‘Oh, maybe that’s far enough for him not to do anything’ and that’s the reason I come out.
"I can’t come out in front of him because I didn’t want to risk a penalty, then I wanted to go back. He made it clever, stopped the ball and passed it back to another guy who was free, then a good strike into the goal.”
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That play aside, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said he thought Gspurning was “alright” in the game.
“I have confidence in him,” Schmid said and then added, “I have confidence in [backup 'keeper] Marcus [Hahnemann].”