SEATTLE — A typical Seattle day greeted members of the Sounders FC playing and technical staff as they trained on their stadium field for the first time this year. But even the gray skies above CenturyLink Field couldn't put a damper on goalkeeper Michael Gspurning's positivity heading into the new season.
Sounder at Heart caught up with the cerebral Austrian goalkeeper after training.
Since the last time we spoke, a lot of things have happened in Michael Gspurning's world. You've got a little baby boy now. How are things working out?
"Perfect. It was perfect timing that he was coming before the season, so I can be focused on the season now. The family is healthy. Everything is fine, and we are excited — or I am excited — to look forward for the season."
Has that changed anything with regard to your preparation? Are you getting as much sleep as you need?
"I'm absolutely fine. This is a point where I'm very happy to have my wife. She supports me, and she understands that a professional athlete needs sleep. Also, the boy I think understands it because he's very quiet. He has a good sleep."
This was the first day of training in the stadium. Does it feel like the season is about to start?
"It's good that we were here today. To be back on the pitch was great from the beginning; during the warm-up, I told (goalkeeper coach) Tommy (Dutra), ‘Hey, this is a great feeling to be back here again.' Of course, it's a much better feeling on Saturday, when the crowd is here and we will have a great season opener. It's absolutely fantastic to be back."
With the changes in the back line, does that change the cohesion or the way you guys play together?
"I think we did a great job in the preseason to get over these problems. We (came) together as a team for this. It was really good in Arizona, also during the games. I think we are absolutely ready as a new team, as the new Sounders. But the truth is, we will see on Saturday how ready we are. That's the point — it's all about the first game, to win it, especially at home, and to have a good start."
How do you balance the need to win in the league and also do well in the CONCACAF Champions League, which also starts again soon after the first MLS match?
"The best thing is always to look for the next task, and the next task is Saturday. Saturday after the game, we can start thinking about the Tigres game. It's not helpful if you think about not the next game. You always have to be focused on the next one."