The english version of Mike Gspurnings column about the MLS, his club the seattle sounders and his life in the USA. Excklusive on IM NETZ.
Hello again from the Pacific Northwest!
The MLS regular season is now over and we've managed to snatch the third place of the Western Conference. The playoffs start next Friday and in a two-legged tie we're going to play against the second-place team in our Conference, Real Salt Lake. Again. Because last year we've had exactly the same pairing. Then, in a dramatic second leg in Seattle, my Sounders almost overturned a three goals deficit from the first game – at the end, we won 2-0, but that wasn't enough to qualify.
So, this year we have a chance to strike back. On Friday, we're going to play the first leg in our home ground, Century Link Field, which is commonly known as Royal Brougham Park among our supporters. Of course, as so many times this year, we're going to have a frantic atmosphere in the stadium. Now that the regular season is over, it is time to say thanks for each and every Sounders fan! I know that some of you from America are also reading my column, and for that, you have to use some online translator programs. I always hope that these are more or less accurate! :-) (Well, you guys don't have to do that anymore, from now, you can read Michael Gspurning's column also in English on IM NETZ!)
In 2012 we've had an average attendance of 43.143 and altogether 733.441 tickets were sold! That's unbelievable, and the highlight of the season was definitely the derby against Portland, in front of 66.000 fans. With these average attendances, we would be sixth in the Premier League (England), fourth in the Primera Division (Spain) and also fourth in the Serie A (Italy). Just imagine an Austria–Rapid derby under such circumstances! Unfortunately, the capacity of the Happel Stadion is only around 50.000, but we can dream, right?
The derby against Portland left nothing to be desired. Fierce scenes, good game and a lot of heart to put in – these are the ingredients of a derby like this. And the result, a convincing 3-0 victory, fits the bill perfectly.
Personally, I consider the Regular Season as a success. After recovering from the injury (hip flexor strain) that sidelined me for ten games in the middle of the season, I think I played quite well. Thanks to our defense, I possess the best ratio of GAA (Goal Against Average) in the League: with my teammates, we've conceded 0.73 goals per game. This is the third best ratio ever reached in MLS, and I am the first non-CONCACAF goalkeeper to reach this rate. I'm a bit proud that I've managed this in my first season, although I know well that this is the success of the whole team. Thank you, guys!!!
All in all, the playoffs will decide our season. If you fall out in the first round, no one will consider it as a good season. It's pretty hard to put all your concentration in so few matches, but this is „The American Way” of sports. Everyone remember these games, this is when heroes are born. It certainly has its appeal.
So, let's hope for the best and I wish that in my next column, I can write about another success story.
Till then, all the best,