Seattle Sounders Notebook: Stefan Frei set to return against Vancouver Whitecaps FC

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei returned to training on Wednesday after missing Saturday’s match at Real Salt Lake due to an elbow injury, and he’s expected to be available for the team’s match against Vancouver on Saturday.

Frei missed the team’s 2-1 loss at RSL while dealing with elbow inflammation and was replaced by youngster Tyler Miller, making his first career MLS start.

“[Frei] went through all of training today so no issues,” head coach Sigi Schmid said.

That’s good news for the Sounders, who will play their first Cascadia Cup matchup of the year against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday (7 p.m. PT; Q13/ROOT Sports (outside Seattle)/KIRO 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM).

Forwards Jordan Morris and Nelson Valdez also saw their status cast into doubt after picking up knocks against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. However, both trained in full on Wednesday as well, indicating  they’re expected to be available against Vancouver.

Neither midfielder Erik Friberg (knee) nor captain Brad Evans (shoulder) trained on Wednesday.

New Look for Vancouver?

The Sounders and Whitecaps are anything but foreign to each other heading into this weekend’s matchup. Besides being Cascadia rivals, the two sides faced off five times across all competitions last season, four of which took place within seven weeks of each other.

So do these sides each know what to expect on Saturday? Schmid thinks perhaps not.

“They’re still a team that’s got good speed even though they’ve gotten rid of some guys with good speed,” said Schmid. “[They] can go direct over the top, we have to be aware of that. Also with Blas Pérez, it gives them a different look, it’s somebody who can target for them when they bring him in.”

The ‘Caps came into the 2016 season as a Western Conference favorite but, like the Sounders, have experienced misfortune in the first couple of matches and now find themselves at the bottom of the table searching for that elusive first victory.

“It’s a team that’s probably just like us right now.”  Schmid said. “They’re a little bit disappointed in their results and they’re looking to get a result here.”

Alonso Confident in Roldan

Second-year midfielder Cristian Roldan has been asked to fill a valuable spot in the midfield while Friberg continues to recover from his knee injury, and midfield counterpart Osvaldo Alonso said he has been pleased with Roldan’s performance thus far.

“I think Roldan stepped up and played some good soccer last game,” Alonso said. “I hope we can play good on Saturday and get the win.”

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