For most of its length, the Sounders’ 1-0 season-clinching win last night played out like the rest of the Sounders-RSL series, as goalkeepers Micahel Gspurning and Nick Rimando turned aside dangerous goal chances through the first half. Then Rimando opened the second by going low and left to stop an on-target strike by Brad Evans.
“He’s an awesome goalkeeper,” Evans said. “First and formost credit to them, and credit to Nick: He kept them in this series, from the first game as well. That save was huge, but things happen in games and things went our way.”
Rimando had little chance on Mario Martinez’s game-winner in the 81st minute, which was a quickly struck line drive inside the far post.
“I can feel with (Rimando), because this is like the Open Cup was to me,” Gspurning said, thinking back to Seattle’s loss to Kansas City that went down to penalty kicks. “He made two huge games, and today he had two great saves. But soccer – and that’s good – is a team sport. I’m proud to be a member of the Sounders, and I’m very proud of the team that we made the next series.”
Afterward, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had high praise for both keepers.
“I said all along that (Gspurning) deserves to be goalkeeper of the year,” he said. “A lot of people think he doesn’t because of the fact that he misses a series of games. So if you get injured, I don’t know if you get excluded from awards because you missed a few games. He’s been a tremendous addition to our team. His height obviously helps him on corners and things like that. He’s just a good goalkeeper. Nick Rimando’s a great goalkeeper, but Gspurning’s right there for sure. You saw two of the best goalkeepers in the league tonight.”