I suggested once before that whatever ailed the Seattle Sounders in 2012 could possibly be down to one simple thing, a single missing ingredient.
Kasey Keller was no longer in goal.
The big saves just aren’t being made. But it’s even more than that.
It’s so hard to quantify a presence like Keller. We can all see the elite-level shot-stopping. And by watching with keen, focused eye, perhaps we can appreciate the positioning, the instincts and the experience that keeps a trusty old set of hands in just the right spots.
But unless we are on the field in the thick of it all, we can’t hear and appreciate the amount of critical information a guy like Keller is providing to his defenders. And we can’t feel the confidence that a defender has pushing against him as he goes into a tackle, knowing the man in goal is always capable of something special should things not go just right.
Michael Gspurning, Keller’s chosen replacement, may or may not have the right stuff. The 31-year-old Austrian looked like a good and proper fit for CenturyLink goal, but his body of work lasted just seven games. Injury took him away; the numbers for Bryan Meredith and Andrew Weber (replacements for the replacement) since then just don’t measured up.
Gspurning allowed three goals in seven starts; the other pair has allowed 18 goals in 13 starts.
So, not even close.
That’s all relevant because Sounders coach Sigi Schmid says Gspurning appears ready to start, perhaps even Saturday at Colorado.