When Michael Gspurning came to Seattle last summer to get a look at the city and watch the Sounders FC play before he eventually signed with the club, he liked everything about the club from the start.
That love has translated into Gspurning thoroughly dominating the opposition at CenturyLink Field.
In seven MLS starts in Seattle for Gspurning this season, the Sounders are 6-1-0. Five of those matches have ended in shutouts and Gspurning has a goals against average of 0.31.
“It’s always amazing in front of this crowd,” he said after posting a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in front of a crowd of 55,718 on Saturday. “Before the game, if you walk through the tunnel, you get goose bumps. It’s amazing.”
While he has been an immovable object at home, he has also been good on the road and he leads the league with a 0.57 goals against average while posting five shutouts in 11 starts.
Although he doesn’t need to make as many saves as some goalkeepers in the league to have success, it is due in large part to the command he holds of his box.
“He’s been solid, his organization is good for us, as well,” Sounders FC head 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. His experience has been important.”
Gspurning, 31, came to the Sounders this season after playing 12 professional seasons in Austria and Greece. In his first six matches, he posted three shutouts and allowed just three goals. In the seventh match, he held the LA Galaxy scoreless for the first half of their match, but did not return for the second half after suffering a hip injury that kept him out of the lineup for nearly three months.
Now back on the field and back in form, Gspurning is 3-1-0 overall. His best work continues to come on the pitch at CenturyLink Field though. He hasn’t allowed a goal at home in the last 381 minutes.
It’s an impressive run and one that is not lost on the 6-foot-5 Austrian. And when he sees the Sounders FC’s success in their last two matches when they have had crowds of 60,908 in a 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy and 55,718 in Saturday’s win over Vancouver, his excitement builds.
“Maybe we have to think about opening up the upper level every game,” he smiled.