As Sigi Schmid said several times today, "there is no replacing Kasey Keller." Instead Michael Gspurning is just the Seattle Soundersnext keeper. The Austrian Keeper is younger, taller and offers something that Keller didn't have. While he will need to make the saves and learn to command the backline as well as Keller did Gspurning offers a new passing option in the back. Schmid noted that this is part generational and part the type of keeper Gspurning is.
The ability to integrate the keeper as a passer will offer Seattle's defenders another option in passing and should reduce the long balls. This is a technique that is suiting certain EPL sides well, as they are more able to maintain possession (Zonal Marking). Now when Seattle's defenders are a bit pressured they have a new pass. It may take time for the defense to learn how to best use this option, but it does offer a release that wasn't in the Sounders playbook previously. It also offers danger, for when these fail they fail dramatically.
Schmid described the differences between the new and the old;
He's a little bit more of a presence on crossed balls. He's also younger. Kasey when he was younger also came for more cross balls then he did with Seattle. His size is going to help him in that regard. He's the kind of goalkeeper, again because the generation of goalkeepers is different. He's a guy who maybe encourages that backpass a little more and wants the ball played back to him and is willing to play out of the back. That might be something that's a little different from Kasey as well. We hope that his organization is going to be as good, there's a lot to measure up to there because Kasey is a very good organizer of the back four. Obviously he'll need to make saves in key moments in games. That's something that we're looking for as well. That's something that we saw in all the games that we watched and we expect him to capable. We think he's a good goalkeeper. We're happy with the choice we made.
Emphasis is provided for clarity only. Gspurning and Schmid both know that the shadow of Keller is large, but to get over that the Austrian is already studying film of the Seattle Sounders to learn how they play and to learn the league. The tall keeper knows that he may show up on highlight reels a bit less often than small keepers. Evidence from Greece is that he can still make that quality of save as well.
Still, the Gspurning doesn't expect to be on tevision much and describes himself as
a guy who doesn't have to jump and make a spectacular save only for the television this is not my thing. I'm very tall as you know and for this reason I can catch some balls, I don't want to say an easily way, but with a way that is very economic with maybe a small goal keeper makes a big save that looks very good on the television. I can avoid this save. They are also not always so nice to me that they shoot easy balls, so for this reason I have to make saves that are in the corner. There are two videos about me on youtube and one collected a very great save from me. It was a double save where I had to first save it with the leg and then got up very quickly and also stand. But my way of playing is always positive... If my teammates make a mistake I always want to push the team in a positive way. In general you will see how I'm playing, but it's not easy to explain.
There will be differences. Expect less blazing red faces and wide mouth screaming, while you see more of a keeper playing the short pass and start long build-up play through his ability pass and read the field. Seattle wanted to add a greater ability to integrate the fullbacks into the attack, they now get that from their keeper.