Michael Gspurning has good numbers, but his impact goes beyond stats
For starters, the Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper didn’t have to make a single save in Saturday’s 2-0 win against rival Vancouver. It’s a figure that hardly accounts for Gspurning’s activity, however, which included coming off his line to snuff out a seventh-minute breakaway and punching out a dangerous cross two minutes later.
The yearlong stats are the ones that carry weight, as Seattle is more than 70 percent through its regular season. With Gspurning in the starting lineup, the Sounders are 8-2-1. When he was out 13 games with a hip strain, the team went 3-4-6.
“He’s a big presence back there,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s a tremendous asset for our team, not just in what he can do as a goalkeeper, but in the voice he brings to the field.”
The numbers back that up. Among goalkeepers with more than two starts, Gspurning leads MLS with a 0.57 goals-against average and a 72.7 win percentage. His 79.3 save percentage ranks second in the league.
What the numbers don’t show, though, is the danger Gspurning eliminates with his athleticism and 6-foot-5 frame.
“He’s a big goalie, so you can rely on him going out and getting those balls,” defender Jeff Parke said of Gspurning’s play on crosses and corner kicks. “We have a lot of faith in him.”
Even missing their No. 1 goalkeeper for part of this season, the Sounders have 40 points in 24 games, one point off last year’s record pace. And Seattle had to make up a lot of ground after a franchise-worst nine-game winless streak earlier this year. That occurred when Gspurning was out injured.
“I’m happy with the guys in front of me,” Gspurning said. “We’ve had a great team effort.”
Forward Fredy Montero threw out the first pitch at Tuesday night’s Mariners game against the Cleveland Indians. Only three Sounders have had the honor – Schmid in 2009 and Maykel Galindo, a forward in the United Soccer Leagues, in 2006. … About four months after undergoing major knee surgery, rookie forward Babayele Sodade has been cleared for partial participation in Sounders training. The 22-year-old tore his ACL in March during Olympic qualifying for the Canadian team.