When Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning picked up a yellow card for delay late in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal win over Tigres on March 12, no one thought much of it.
Most fans didn’t notice. And while Gspurning and coach Sigi Schmid thought the call wasn’t merited, it didn’t seem to matter much.
Since them, they have learned otherwise.
According to new CCL rules, the yellow card combined with another earlier in the competition, making Seattle’s No. 1 goalkeeper ineligible for the first leg of the semifinal round against Santos Laguna on Tuesday at CenturyLink Field.
Here’s what Gspurning and Schmid had to say about the situation today:
On finding out: I didn’t know it when I got the yellow card after the game. Then after the game I was thinking, ‘Hold on. How many yellow cards is a punishment.’ The team thought that after the group stage the yellow cards were canceled like in the past — but not with three teams. And I forgot about the yellow card I got in Honduras, so I thought I’m safe for the next stage. Sigi game to me and said, ‘Hey, you’re banned for the next game.’ I said, ‘Oh. That’s not good news.’
On the delay call: But there I have to say most of the time in CONCACAF Champions League and in Greece and in almost every European league, if you just take the ball and your team is up in front you always get a yellow card whatever you do. I told the referee in this case I couldn’t even make the kick because a striker was still in my box.
On the situation: Normally yellow cards wipe clean after the group stage. CONCACAF has a rule where it wipes clean after the quarterfinal stage. Any other tournament in the world – World Cup, youth world championships, or qualifying tournaments going to the World Cup – if there are group stages, usually after the group stage it wipes clean and you start over. So, now everybody is wiped clean, but obviously that was Gspurning’s second yellow.
“The yellow — we don’t have any recourse with CONCACAF — I thought the yellow was really harsh in that game because they were subbing at the time, so Gspurning was waiting for their player to get off the field because he was exiting the field at the end line. And the referee gave (Gspurning) a yellow for not putting the ball into play. And he’s sitting there like, ‘Well, I can’t put the ball into play: Their player is still on the field, they’re subbing.’ So it was a little bit confusing issue.
On having veteran goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann to fill in: It’s nice to have Marcus and it’s the reason we have him. It’s going to be a big game for him. And the team’s very confident in Marcus as well.