There was one Sounder on the practice field longer than the rest Wednesday: Michael Gspurning. The goalkeeper, of course, was benched for the first time Sunday, so he stayed out maybe as long as 45 minutes after the rest of the team had gone inside.
Well, league pool goalkeeper Doug Herrick stayed out with him.
Reporters got a chance to talk to Gspurning after he was done. Here is a transcript of what he had to say for the first time since losing his starting job:
* * *
(So how are you feeling after all this?) “I feel all right. Of course I’m not happy with the situation, but as long as I think about it, I don’t want to make a comment on the decision. It’s up to the coach. I just can say I’m proud of what I’ve done in these two years to now, with the personal success I’ve had and with the team. This stuff didn’t change at all. Of course I have established myself as one of the best ‘keepers, I think, in the league, and you expect from a goalkeeper with this quality that he’s making a couple of saves sometimes that we don’t expect. Of course I expect this, too, so these two games I didn’t make the saves. I don’t have to talk about the last goal, I take the responsibility, but this is now over. I can’t change it, and I’m looking forward. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t mean now anything about my quality. I think we didn’t take the result as a team. In my opinion, the only thing I can do now is look forward and give the best in practice. Yeah, looking forward.”
(Are you still confident in yourself?) “Absolutely. As I’ve said, games like this happen. Did I win these games? No, of course I didn’t. For me, the most important thing is always if a ‘keeper wins games or not. I won a lot of games for the Sounders I think the last two games. I didn’t win these two games, but did I lose the games myself? I don’t think so either. I know that from the quality of one of the best ‘keepers in the league, you expect that he’s making one-on-one saves and unstoppable saves, and I was unlucky, too, in those two games. In Vancouver, the shot touched here [points to his elbow]. It was a negative run and I can handle it. It doesn’t mean anything about my quality.”
(Was there any benefit to taking a step back for maybe one game just to get away from the bad spell?) “I had a conversation with (coach Sigi Schmid), and he explained his thoughts. I have to accept them. In the end, maybe you come out stronger from this. It’s a situation where, yeah, you have to prove character and, if you’re able, to put yourself behind and do the best for the team. I’ve tried to do this, but to be honest, I don’t see any good thing about it at the moment that I’m not playing.”
(Schmid’s characterization has deemed less like a demotion but as a break. Is there some comfort in that?) “Yeah. He explained it like this, that I was also unlucky in the situation. That’s not my fault, but I was unlucky. And he wanted to give me a break. As long as it’s a break, then it’s OK.”
(Do you know your status for Saturday?) “No. I wasn’t thinking about this, to be honest.”
(People know you as an outgoing guy, but has this been difficult to take?) “It’s tough. Of course it’s difficult. I’ve been playing seven years in a row now, eight years, and to be honest sitting on the bench was very uncomfortable for me because you’re waiting for the game, you don’t know what it brings. Maybe you have to be ready in the first minute or in the last minute. It was tougher for me to be cool and calm than even if I was playing. Sounds weird, but it is like this because it was so different for me.”