Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sounders sign Austrian international goalkeeper Michael Gspurning

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders earlier today have signed their first player this offseason. The Sounders acquired Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning who, in case you guys didn't know, actually visited Seattle during the summer. Gspurning spent four days here in Seattle last summer, checking out the city as a possible destination after his contract with Greek club Skoda Xanthi was due to expire on December 31. Gspurning also attended Seattle's Champions League preliminary round match against San Francisco FC. After his four day visit in the Emerald City and the fact that he lost his starting job at Skoda Xanthi, Gspurning felt like he had to sign with Seattle. The 30-year old goalkeeper will officially join the club in January on a multi-year deal following the end of his contract with Skoda and an International Transfer Clearance.

Gspurning began his career in Austria Wein's youth system before being promoted to the senior side in 2000, however he never made an appearance for them. He moved to DSV Leoben in 2001 and spent three seasons there. He made 62 appearances during his say with Leoben before moving to ASKO Pasching where he spent two seasons as a backup making only seven league appearances for them as well as a few UEFA Cup appearances. Gspurning left Pasching in 2007 to join Skoda Xanthi in Greece. In his four seasons, before losing his starting job, Gspurning made 89 appearances and currently holds the Greek SuperLeague record for the longest road shutout streak at eight. Gspurning so far has capped three times for the Austrian national team.

Thoughts on this move:

Good move. With Kasey Keller and Terry Boss retiring and the fact that Josh Ford and Bryan Meredith were rookies and aren't quite ready to become a starter at this level, the best option was to sign Gspurning who is a solid goalkeeper and a good penalty-stopper. And again, Gspurning thought it was the best option for him to sign with the Sounders after his four day visit last summer. Good move by the Sounders front office, who have done a great job bringing in new players and making this team stronger and more competitive.

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