Stefan Frei makes challenging saves look simple and turns extraordinary into ordinary. When the Sounders keeper kept Seattle’s one-goal lead with a monster save just before the half, it reminded everyone just how good he can be.
Fredy Montero, a Sounders legend in his own right, stepped up to hit a ball from about 30 yards out and looking to tie up the match. The Colombian striker struck a nearly perfect ball into Frei’s top corner and just like against Toronto FC an outstretched left hand kept it from going in.
This seems like a hands-down winner for MLS Save of the Week, but how does it compare to the one he made in MLS Cup on Jozy Altidore that allowed the Sounders to win their first league title? “The Save” was an undeniably bigger moment and may have required more acrobatics, but the one on Fredy deflected off the wall and was moving much faster.
For what it’s worth, Director of Goalkeeping, Tommy Dutra, gave his thoughts on the debate of which save is better at training: “They’re both good, weren’t they...in those moments of the game they are both equally great. I think the one in the final, I still think is better, you know, but last night what a timely save. If it goes 1-1 the game is different.”
I’m inclined to agree with Dutra, the MLS Cup save was a bigger moment on a frozen tundra. It was perfect, or at least nearly perfect. That all said, an unpredictable free kick from a player of Montero’s ability is potentially tougher than being in motion able to see the cross and header the whole time.
Vote, which save is better? Or is there another Stefan Frei save that was better? As Frei said last time around, “As a goalkeeper, you’re always striving for perfection, was that save perfection? No, it probably wasn’t, because there is no such thing. But it kept the ball out and that’s the most important thing.”
Which save is Stefan Frei’s best?
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2016 MLS Cup Final
2017 Fredy Montero Free Kick