To G, or not to G
The Sounders newest addition to the net this season is Michael Gspurning, name pronounced spur-ning, the g is silent. After three years with the legendary Kasey Keller in net, the Sounders were looking for a man to fill that position, and boy have they found it.
Team: Seattle Sounders FC
POB: Graz, Austria
Height: 6ft 5in
MLS Seasons: 1
Pro Seasons: 12
As a veteran of European football, like his predecessor, Michael Gspurning had bounced around Europe for over ten years before coming to America and joining the Sounders.
Starting off in the youth system in his native Austria, Gspurning found himself a home in the Austrian Bundesliga with one of the most successful squads in Austria; Austria Wein.
Though Gspurning never got a start with the team, his presence on the squad got him enough attention to warrant starting time with a lesser level team in Austria; DSV Leoben.
At Leoben, Gspurning honed his skills in net, and won the award of leagues best goalkeeper, which in turn, set up another appearance in the Austrian Bundesliga with ASKO Pasching.
His stay with Pasching was two years in length, but Gspurning only appeared in 7 games. Of those 7 games, he was allowed to see some action in the UEFA Cup (now known as the UEFA Europa League).
After his second year, he moved on to Greece where he played with Skoda Xanthi and became the number one keeper for five years appearing in 89 games, his most to date with one club.
After an extremely brief stay with Real Madrid, playing on the reserve squad, Gspurning made the switch to the MLS. As noted above, he was hired in Seattle to replace the legend Kasey Keller, along with Bryan Meredith.
His first game with the Sounders was the first leg of the quarterfinals match-up with Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League, securing the victory in the 2-1 victory in Seattle.
Not taking anything away from Keller, but the athleticism of Gspurning seems to be leaps and bounds better than that of the Sounders former keeper. Keller was 41 at the time of retirement, so that extra ten years is really showing.
Style of play
A stoic presence in net, Gspurning has the size to cover a lot of ground, while at the same time being overly aggressive on set pieces, namely corner kicks. His dominant fists seem to come flying out of nowhere on errant balls in the box.
Though we haven’t even begun to witness all that Gspuning can and will bring to the table for the Sounders, I personally have grown fonder and fonder of his game play with every start.
One thing is for sure, having a guy like this to replace a legend like Keller sure makes the transition a whole lot easier.