By Josh Kerns
Sounders FC will be without one of their key pieces for the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Santos Laguna, as goalkeeper Michael Gspurning has been suspended for one game after picking up his second yellow card in the second leg of the CONCACAF tournament.
Gspurning was penalized for delay of game during the match against Mexico’s Tigres UANL after holding onto the ball as the other team was making a substitution.
“I thought the yellow was really harsh in that game,” Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid told The Seattle Times. “Because they were subbing at the time, and so Gspurning was waiting for their player to get off the field — because he was exiting the field on the end line — and the referee gave him a yellow for not putting the ball into play. And he’s like sitting there, ‘I can’t put the ball into play. The guy is still on the field; they’re subbing.’ So it was a little bit of a confusing issue.”
The yellow card was Gspurning’s second, after drawing another in a match Sept. 19 agains CD Marathon of Honduras. The suspension came as a suprise to Schmid, who thought all yellows were wiped clean after the group stage.
The pressure will fall on veteran backup Marcus Hahnemann in what is arguably one of the biggest matches in Sounders history. The 40-year-old has yet to appear in a match this season. He made his sole appearance last season in a 3-1 CONCACAF Champions Group Stage win vs. Marathon in October.