By Liviu Bird
SEATTLE — Goalkeepers are often acknowledged as being different from normal players, and as such, they share a bond that transcends club colors. The Goalkeepers’ Union, as it is often referred to from within the brotherhood, encompasses all players who strap on the gloves, even if they happen to be defending opposite goals in the same game.
Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando and Seattle Sounders FC’s Michael Gspurning found themselves in that situation on Friday night, and both performed admirably for their teams in a 0-0 thriller. Each was given the top mark in their respective teams’ player ratings on Prost Amerika (click here for RSL and Seattle ratings).
After the game, I caught up with Gspurning, and we discussed the game in which he and Rimando starred and, more interestingly, the reception the away goalkeeper received after his collision with Christian Tiffert. Rimando was left with a gash above his right eye and a broken nose.
Gspurning discussed it in an exclusive interview with Prost Amerika.
Prost Amerika: It was a great game from both goalkeepers. How did you see it?
Michael Gspurning: It was a good game from both goalkeepers, I think. We made a couple of saves, especially Rimando made great ones. We left everything out today, as a team, on the field. (We are) a little bit disappointed because in this case, all we missed was shooting at goal. OK, now we have to take a win away — to get a win next week. We will look forward to next week.
Prost Amerika: Rimando’s injury is obviously something you don’t want to see as a fellow goalkeeper.
Michael Gspurning: No. All the best to him. I spoke with him after the game, and he says he’s fine. Hopefully, he is because (even if) also you are a rival, you don’t wish somebody else something like this.
Prost Amerika: But goalkeepers are pretty tough. It takes more than that to knock you out of the game.
Michael Gspurning: Yeah (laughs).
Prost Amerika: Obviously, the fans weren’t happy. They were pretty vocal about it. Do you have any thoughts about their reaction?
Michael Gspurning: What should I say? I mean, in this case, the fans saw a lot of wasting time for us. I saw after (the game) his face, and he really, his nose didn’t look good, so he didn’t do it on purpose. During the game, everybody is focused on the game and not directed to what the fans are doing.
Prost Amerika: So you’re not disappointed at all with the way the fans reacted?
Michael Gspurning: Yeah, for sure. It’s not OK, if somebody is knocked down and he gets booed for being injured. Of course. That’s clear. But I have seen other stuff in Greece. It’s not on me to make the big judgment. He really had something, though. It was not a situation where he played for time. But many times, things happen where players are just wasting time. The fans in the stands, they don’t see if it’s something serious or not.
Prost Amerika: What kinds of things have you seen in Greece in these situations?
Michael Gspurning: The emotions are the same. We should never forget it’s a game. On the other side, the emotions are part of the game, and I think Nick is totally fine with this. We goalkeepers are highly motivated also if you play away and the fans are against you. It gives you an extra push.
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