SEATTLE — Michael Gspurning was once again the Seattle Sounders’ starting goalkeeper on Sunday, and he intends to stay there.
The 6-foot-5 Austrian turned in a solid performance, making four saves and allowing only a single goal in the Sounders’ 1-1 tie with the LA Galaxy to close out the MLS regular season. And by his estimation, he'll still be the man in nets when Seattle host Colorado in Wednesday's Knockout Round match (10:30 pm ET, NBCSN).
“I’m preparing like I’ll play on Wednesday, but I did the last two games, too,” Gspurning told reporters after the match. “It’s up to the coach. I just want to help the team.”
It was Gspurning’s first game back after spending the Sounders’ past two games on the bench, following a two-game stretch in which he allowed nine goals. Until the benching, he had been the unquestioned starter during his two seasons with the club. Marcus Hahnemann was given the starting assignment instead, allowing three goals and going 0-2-0.
Rather than sulk, though, Gspurning rededicated his training habits.
“I tried to use the time when I wasn’t playing to put some extra effort in,” he said. “I won’t miss the time I was on the bench but it was something that made me tougher maybe, or I learned another thing about going back to the basics. Push the reset button maybe.”
Gspurning was tested on several occasions and proved up to the task until Robbie Keane beat him with a shot that he bounced off the turf from the edge of the penalty area.
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“I thought Michael came back and had a good game,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, who continued to call the position a “competition” ahead of Wednesday’s playoff opener. “Is he the goalkeeper that gave up nine goals in two games or the goalkeeper who averaged less than a goal per game for 40-plus games?"