Stefan Frei: Waking the Red scouting report

Jim Rogash

Here's what our Toronto FC blog thought of Stefan Frei.

Stefan Frei managed to make 99 appearances for Toronto FC between MLS, the Voyageurs Cup, and the CONCACAF Champions League. Most of those appearances came in the first two seasons of his career though as he spent most of 2012 and 2013 either recovering from injury or riding the bench behind the likes of Milos Kocic and Joe Bendik.

Frei came to Toronto through the SuperDraft after the club selected him with the 13th overall pick that year. He was a Generation Adidas player at the time which set him up on a fairly good salary when he first entered the league.

That salary is now part of why Frei is leaving Toronto as he was making more money than a team in MLS can afford to be paying a backup keeper. The good news for Sounders fans is that even if Ryan Nelsen decided to go with Joe Bendik ahead of Frei is he not your average backup keeper in MLS.

What the Sounders are getting is a player who was one of the top goalkeepers in the league as recently as 2010. Yes, he has been injured since then but if he can find that form back the Sounders will have themselves a fine keeper.

2010 was the best defensive season that TFC have ever enjoyed as the club conceded 41 goals in 30 games played. That 1.37 goals against per game was the best the club has managed in their 7 seasons and Frei was a big part of that achievement.

In that season, Frei managed a save percentage of 71% which was the best mark of his career as he faced 153 shots in 28 appearances. His career save percentage is also in that 70% range which is solid for an MLS starter but certainly not spectacular.

Season Appearances Shots Against Saves Goal Allowed GAA Save %
2009 26 141 98 38 1.49 70
2010 28 153 108 37 1.32 71
2011 27 155 106 49 1.83 68
Career 82 452 314 125 1.52 69.5

What Frei did behind some poor defences was one of the few reasons that TFC were even respectable (which is a stretch to call them) in those three seasons. He kept the club in a lot of games with a number of key stops and by organizing the defence in front of him well.The numbers with Frei do not paint the full picture though as a lot of his work was done behind a consistently poor defence. During his three seasons as the club's everyday starter he only had one year where the club even looks competent defensively and that was under Preki in that 2010 season.

His biggest positive that he brings in his personality. Frei was a captain in Toronto and not just because of his time served. He was a natural leader in the team and in the dressing room and was also one of the nicest guys to ever play at BMO Field. All that is why Frei quickly became a fan favourite with fans in Toronto and will remain one moving forward.

There are some negatives to Frei's game outside of the question marks that come from his recent injuries. He has never been the most confident keeper in terms of coming out to claim crosses and did not always have as strong of a command of his area as you would like. He was working on it in recent years but did not get much of a chance to show any progress while sitting on the bench.

In his final start for TFC, a 1-0 defeat to the Chicago Fire, the only way that the Fire managed to beat him was from the penalty spot. He looked solid in that start and really put himself in the shop window for teams that were interested in acquiring his services. A start like that could well have played a role in convincing Seattle that he still has a lot to offer.

Given a full preseason and a competent defence in front of him like he should have in Seattle there is no reason to doubt that Frei could again be a quality MLS starter and he should quickly win over Sounders fans with his play and his personality.

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