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‘Players need to take responsibility’ for getting healthy, Stefan Frei says

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Fans aren’t the only ones frustrated by Sounders’ inability to get fit.

MLS: Seattle Sounders at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

PORTLAND — The one constant throughout the Seattle Sounders’ 2018 campaign has been an enduring inability to get the roster particularly close to fully fit. In some ways, Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers was a microcosm of that frustration. Injuries kept the likes of Nicolas Lodeiro (toe), Will Bruin (heel), Roman Torres (hamstring) and Osvaldo Alonso (quad) from making the trip and Nouhou (he seemed to indicate it was a stomach issue) and Kim Kee-hee (gashed head) had to be replaced during the match.

To some degree, injuries are unavoidable. There’s not much you can do about clashing heads or tearing an ACL. But fans aren’t the only ones who are growing frustrated with an injury list that seems to add a name almost as soon as it loses one.

“We’ve improved slightly in terms of getting people back from injury, but that bug still remains and that’s an issue for us,” Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei said in the postgame locker room in Portland. “People really need to take it upon themselves I think to do everything possible, everything in their power to get back. It’s one thing for us to sit here and say ‘if we had this and this player we’d be playing better’ but it ain’t going to help you squat. They need to be on the field.”

Frei also seemed to suggest that there was a lack of urgency from some of his teammates.

“I know our trainers are doing everything they can, so as individuals we need to do everything we can because time is slowly running out,” he continued. “We’re getting pushed into a corner again and we know how difficult that can be.

“Some people say we’ve been there before so we’re not sweating it, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Results have to come and it starts with us players taking responsibility to make sure we can get on the field, can stay on the field and then when we’re on the field that we take our chances and perform.”

Was Frei talking about his teammates in the aggregate? Was he essentially calling out specific players? That’s hard to know, but it’s also hard not to read between the lines and see some growing disappointment.