I would love to say that I watched the game, but the truth is that I couldn’t find a stream and with the storms rolling in down south, my son would have likely prevented me from watching it as closely as I would have liked. But, from looking over the replays and sifting through the Opta data there is some thing that kind of stands out.
Michael Gspurning, despite conceding two goals, largely received “kudos” for his 7 brilliant stops against the onslaught of RSL. However, I have to say that I had a small, tiny, itty bitty, complaint with the performance. He simply seemed was unable to retain any of the balls.
Looking at his games so far this year it’s been a key denominator so far that has stood out. Gspurning has been unable to reign in shots and keep them from bouncing around the 18 yard box. Out of 17 saves against 20 shots on goals, he’s managed just 2 catches thus far in the season and no punches. While, these type of stats give no real credence to the measure of difficult to each situation presented, what it does give us a small window of how he’s handling the totality of the situations presented.
Gspurning does a heck of a job to get everything in front of the shots on target and was simply stunning against Findley and RSL, from what I can tell. But with his back line unable to display an appropriate ability to properly clearing balls of the back line to prevent further shots against goal, it’s going to be paramount that he contains the shots against rather than simply deflect them back into traffic.
I’m a big fan of the big guy between the pipes and this is an odd thought considering what let down the attack has been at this point. Really, I suppose if there was ever a time to pick on someone that would be it. But, that doesn’t absolve Gspurning of being pushed to do more. We’ve seen this guy be the best keeper in MLS and while he was very good Saturday night there were a few things that he needed to do different to garner at a minimum a point.
I’m not blaming him, just mentioning something that stood out to me.