Stefan Frei set for milestone begin as Sounders tackle Earthquakes


At instances, Stefan Frei feels like he’s one unhealthy recreation from retirement.

The Sounders FC keeper just lately moved his residence from Queen Anne to Bainbridge Island. Frei, who’s additionally a budding artist, now talks about communing with nature and ferry instances together with techniques for upcoming Main League Soccer opponents and workforce chemistry.

“I grew up in Switzerland, and I didn’t cherish nature as a lot as I ought to’ve after I was somewhat child,” Frei stated Friday throughout a video convention name with media. “As I’m getting older, I’m beginning to actually admire it and the way good it’s to the soul. It’s been superb. Just a little instance, at present on the ferry, driving house I noticed an orca out within the wild. It’s loopy. It’s the attractive Pacific Northwest and I really feel blessed that we’re capable of dwell right here.”

Like many athletes competing amid the pandemic, Frei, 34, is assessing his profession and didn’t shy from being boastful about one other milestone he’s reached. When Frei takes the sphere Sunday for the Sounders’ match in opposition to the San Jose Earthquakes, it will likely be his 250th profession look for the Sounders. The tally is second solely to former midfielder Ozzie Alonso, who has 278 appearances, and consists of U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League and MLS matches.

Frei, who’s now a U.S. citizen, has performed for 2 golf equipment within the Sounders and Toronto FC since coming into the league in 2009. It’s a profession like these of his childhood idols in German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn (1987-2008) and Danish keeper Peter Schmeichel (1981-2003).

“It’s troublesome, it’s a enterprise,” Frei stated. “Generally it’s not your selection as a participant, however I at all times wished to type of comply with that path. I’m additionally very happy with the truth that I’ve been capable of play numerous video games. Final yr I didn’t miss a single minute.”

The truth is, Frei hasn’t suffered a serious harm since lacking the 2012 and 2013 seasons in Toronto with a decrease leg and damaged nostril accidents. Media tagged Frei as injury-prone.

“I felt somewhat bit attacked as a result of I really feel like I labored my butt off,” Frei stated. “I do maintain myself off the pitch and I take pleasure in the truth that I’m capable of play constantly. I wish to maintain that going. I wish to maintain taking part in for one more 10 years. I’m going to maintain pushing. I’m not going to give up that No. 1 spot to a younger man simply. I’m going to push him till somebody takes it from me.”

Sunday might be one among Frei’s hardest matches this season. The Quakes had been within the midst of a nine-match winless streak when the Sounders walloped San Jose 7-1 at CenturyLink Area on Sept. 10. The Quakes conceded 32 objectives through the stretch.

San Jose (6-7-5) has since received 4 of its previous 5 matches and moved as much as seventh place within the Western Convention. The highest eight golf equipment advance to the MLS playoffs.

“Getting spanked a few instances, it’s by no means a great feeling,” Frei stated, equating the Quakes to the Sounders’ 2016 championship season the place Seattle was 6-12-3 headed into August. “In 2016, for us, we had been in darkish locations, and for those who’re capable of climb out of these holes, that’s highly effective. I really feel they’re climbing out of that gap proper now for themselves. Our expertise of climbing out of holes permits us to appreciate how harmful of an opponent they’re.”

The Sounders (9-4-3) stay with out striker Raul Ruidiaz, who’s isolating in his native Peru after testing constructive for COVID-19 final week whereas along with his nationwide workforce. The earliest Ruidiaz may return is for the Sounders’ Oct. 27 match in opposition to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Sounders midfielder Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and defender Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador) may be out there for choice in opposition to Vancouver after honoring their worldwide call-ups. Each are quarantining within the Seattle space as a part of MLS security protocols with the intention to rejoin the membership.

The Sounders had an additional day of relaxation after MLS postponed Wednesday’s deliberate house match in opposition to the Colorado Rapids as a consequence of a coronavirus outbreak throughout the Colorado membership. It’s unlikely to be rescheduled, presumably forcing the league to reconfigure how its groups qualify for the postseason. The Supporter’s Protect Basis introduced Saturday it could not give an award for the general greatest file for the 2020 MLS season.

“I’m nonetheless very involved with the unknowns of this pandemic,” Frei stated after expressing confidence within the medical care Ruidiaz is receiving.

“Is it actually a good season?” Frei stated. “You may have groups which have needed to play troublesome opponents quite a few instances. Comfortable opponents. Others have had followers at house, have been capable of keep at house for essentially the most half. You have a look at Colorado — how are they going to make up their video games? It’s going to be unimaginable. … I understand how troublesome it’s to win Supporter’s Protect. I understand how troublesome it’s to win MLS Cup. You don’t wish to have an enormous asterisk on these.”

Regardless, it could be only one in a storied profession for Frei.  

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