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December 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Sounders FC declines contract option on goalkeeper Michael Gspurning

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Photo credit: Lindsey Wasson, The Seattle Times

The first casualty of the Sounders FC offseason is a big one, and not just because it involves someone 6 foot 5.

Seattle announced through a team spokesman Monday that it will not pick up the contract option on Michael Gspurning, meaning the Sounders are moving on without the well-liked goalkeeper. The move comes as a shock but perhaps not a huge surprise.

Gspurning made $285,000 in guaranteed compensation last season and wasn’t the clear-cut starter at the end.

Backup Marcus Hahnemann, who has indicated he’ll be back in 2014, started three of the final six games of the year (two by coach’s decision, one while Gspurning was serving a red-card suspension). I would expect the team to sign another starter-quality goalkeeper, as well.

I had talked to Gspurning in Portland following a season-ending defeat to the Timbers, and the 32-year-old Austrian made it seem like his future was in doubt. When I asked if he wanted to be back and thought he would be, Gspurning said: “We will see. A couple of guys’ contracts are ending — mine, too. … I’ve loved being here for two years, and that says everything. You never know in soccer.”

Gspurning was an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist in 2012, posting a 0.73 goals-against average, one of the best in league history.

What do you make of the move?

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