Stefan Frei

Frei coming up for Sounders when it matters most

One misplayed ball and one penalty.

That was all that Stefan Frei conceded to FC Dallas, the top scoring team in MLS in a 3-2 win last week at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. However, what Seattle’s goalkeeper was able to do in response to those two goals made the difference for Sounders FC as it was able to battle back and remain unbeaten on the road with the victory.

“Stefan showed great character and came up with a couple of big saves in the second half,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “That’s a tough thing to do when you make an error like that.”

That error came when a high bouncing ball spun higher than the oncoming Frei anticipated, leaving David Texeira in front of an open net for a simple tap-in. However, that came after two great saves from Frei in the first three minutes, parrying away shots by Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo under a barrage of pressure from Dallas in the opening moments.

However, it was what Frei was able to pull off in the second half while Seattle was mounting its comeback that made the difference.

In the 62nd minute, he stopped a shot from Michel that was bound for the top corner and his 83rd minute save of Texeira gave Seattle the opportunity to win the game a few minutes later. Castillo got into the box up the right side and rolled it across the penalty spot, where Adam Moffatt and Texeira were both converging for a shot. The ball skipped through for Texeira to shoot toward the post but Frei got his glove to it, then covered the rebound to keep the score at 2-2.

Clint Dempsey ended up scoring the game-winner just two minutes later, but that save by Frei was as big a play as any in getting three points for Seattle and serves as a confidence-builder for Frei.

“It was a shocker of a first goal and we gave them a second one as well. It’s nice to be playing on a team where we’ve all got each other’s backs and we are working for each other,” said Frei. “I’m just really excited that we were able to get the win and in the end I was able to help the team a little bit as well.”

Sounders FC will next face Chivas USA on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.