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Gspurning nears return

Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning will travel to New York for the Red Bulls match on Sunday.

The Sounders will be very happy to see Michael Gspurning back in the lineup when he makes his return from a hip injury that has kept him out of action since coming out at halftime of Seattle’s 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy on May 2.

The way Gspurning tells it, though, nobody will be happier than his wife.

“I have to say thank you to my wife because it’s not easy when I’m at home and I’m not in a good mood,” he joked after training on Thursday.

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid will bring the 6-foot-5 Austrian goalkeeper with the team for the match on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, hoping that Seattle’s defense can regain the form that saw them allow just three goals in the six full games and half of another that Gspurning played.

“He looked good. He was pretty sharp,” Schmid said after training on Thursday. “We wanted to keep him in team situations, so we’ll make a decision when we’re in New York as to what his role will be.”

Gspurning initially thought it was just a tweak in his hip that would have him out of the lineup for just a couple of weeks. However, he didn’t regain comfort in for several weeks. The more he talked with doctors, the more he learned that the only way to recover was to rest.

So rest he did.

Bryan Meredith and Andrew Weber filled in, going 3-4-5 in MLS play with a combined 1.28 goals against average, keeping the Sounders in third place in the Western Conference while also sending them to the US Open Cup final, posting wins over the Atlanta Silverbacks, Cal FC, San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA to earn their fourth consecutive berth in the finals.

Now Gspurning is nearing his return, which can only stand as a boost for the Sounders. In his seven appearances, he had three shutouts and a 0.46 goals against average.

He said on Thursday that he feels ready to get back on the field, but will await the decision of the coaching staff.

For now, though, he is just thrilled to be back in training with his teammates.

“There’s no pain. It feels strong,” Gspurning said. “It’s great to be back.”

The Sounders and New York Red Bulls kick off Sunday at 1pm Pacific on ESPN from Red Bull Arena, with radio coverage on 97.3 KIRO FM.