Weber set to step up as starting goalkeeper

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comJuly 17, 2013 

Since Michael Gspurning joined Seattle Sounders FC last season, the club has a 3-4-6 Major League Soccer record with anyone else starting in goal.

On Saturday, for the first time this season, someone else will start in goal.

That someone is expected to be Andrew Weber, who last week was playing for third-division Phoenix FC. Weber also was with the Sounders last season and went 0-1-1 while filling in for Gspurning.

The club didn’t retain Weber during the offseason, instead starting this year with Gspurning as the No. 1 keeper, Marcus Hahnemann as No. 2 and Josh Ford as No. 3.

Then — 1-2-3 — all were lost to injuries.

“Going into the season, you felt good about all three of them, and now you’re looking over and all three of them are rehabbing,” goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra said. “It’s a very difficult situation.”

The most recent injury came Saturday in a 1-0 loss at San Jose, when the Earthquakes’ Steven

Lenhart kicked Gspurning in a scramble in front of the Seattle goal.

“In fairness to Lenhart, I think he went in for the ball,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “I don’t think it was overly aggressive. ... It’s just one of those things. He just ... hit the ball and turned Michael’s wrist in an awkward manner.”

The Sounders had signed veteran Hahnemann last season for just that kind of situation. However, while awaiting his opportunity, Hahnemann suffered a hamstring injury in a MLS Reserve League match.

“I’m truly gutted for the guy,” Dutra said. “When Mike went down, I’m like, ‘Wow, this couldn’t be worse timing right now.’ ... Timing is so much of the position — luck and timing. And when you’re called upon, you want to be able to have an opportunity to do the job.”

Instead, the Sounders turned to Weber, who gave up a goal after less than three minutes on the pitch. However, the consensus was that the goal was the result of a defensive lapse, and there was little any keeper could have done about it.

“I didn’t think I was going to be able to get to (Walter) Martinez if I ran straight to him, so I tried to drop back a little bit to cut off the angle to block his left-footed shot,” Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin said. “But he’s a good player, and he cut back on me and slotted a nice shot into the inside netting.

“That’s just something that I’ve got to learn: close guys down a little bit tighter.”

Nothing else got past Weber, and he recorded two saves.

Now he’s preparing for his first MLS start in more than a year Saturday when the Colorado Rapids visit CenturyLink Field.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to Mike,” Weber said. “But ... you just have to be ready when your name is called. Here I am, ready to go.”

Seattle is expected to use Doug Herrick from the MLS goalkeeper pool as its reserve keeper.

Meanwhile, another familiar face showed up at training Tuesday: Bryan Meredith, a 2011 draft pick who went 3-3-5 while Gspurning was down last season.

Meredith spent most of this season playing in Sweden, but he flew back Monday. Currently without a team, he would welcome a return to the Sounders.

“It would be nice to, obviously,” he said. “I love the club, love the city. I don’t know if that’s even an option. I’m just here looking to stay fit and stay sharp.”

ADDED TIME

The Sounders had no significant updates on the injuries to Gspurning, midfielder Brad Evans (ribs) or defender Djimi Traore (hamstring). … Forward Obafemi Martins (calf) trained again Tuesday without apparent ill effects from his Monday work. ... The Sounders are off Wednesday and will return to training Thursday. ... Schmid said he didn’t know if U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann would call either Evans or forward Eddie Johnson for the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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