Michael Gspurning took faced live competition today in training at Starfire Sports Complex, and coach Sigi Schmid said that he could be back in the starting lineup by the weekend.
“Today was the first day he was in training, where he was in goal against live play, and he felt pretty good – how he came out of it,” Schmid said. “And he had a good training session yesterday, and he felt good coming out of that as well. So he’s definitely moving closer. He won’t play tomorrow – so I can ease (Chivas coach) Robin Fraser’s concerns there. But I wouldn’t rule him out necessary for Sunday. And after that for sure he’s probably full in.”
“Tomorrow” is the U.S. Open Cup semifinal against Chivas. “Sunday” is an MLS regular-season match at New York. And “after” is the home friendly against Chelsea.
Schmid was asked if there was any advantage to Gspurning returning in a friendly.
“We’ll see how he is,” he said. “He’s a veteran goalkeeper, a veteran guy. As you try to talk to, they have a good sense of where they’re at in their game and where their bodies are at. I know he mistimed one cross at practice, and I asked, ‘What happened?’ He goes, ‘I need a couple of more practice sessions to get my timing down on that.’ But outside of that it was good. He made the one penalty-kick stop with a good reaction. So he’ll know when he’s ready, and we’ll know.”
Schmid was asked what it might mean for the Sounders to have their No. 1 keeper back for the first time since going out with a hip injury on May 2.
“You look at our goals-against at the beginning of the season when he was in goal (0.46),” Schmid said. “He was a big part of that – not the only part of it, it was a group effort. But certainly his leadership is important for us on the field. And you’ve seen his personality – just getting his personality in the locker room, in the locker room before the game, in the locker room at halftime, on the field – helps our team as well. He’s a guy that’s pretty positive, he’s funny, but he’s also serious about what it takes to win on that given day. So he helps us in a lot of ways.”