Stefan Frei’s return may be a bit closer than originally believed. In an interview announcing his collaboration with Novo Fogo, the Seattle Sounders goalkeeper revealed that he is hoping to get off blood-thinners in the next couple weeks and thinks he should be ready to play shortly thereafter.
“I’m hoping that I’ll be back by the end of the month,” he said. “Towards the end of the month is when I get off of blood thinners, and the transition should be very easy at that point. I will have had about 4 weeks of keeper sessions under my belt.
“I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now because I was stuck in the gym and on the treadmill and on the bike and on the rower for way too long, but I’m trying to make the best of the situation. Come back stronger, healthier, and sharper.”
Based on this, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that Frei could be back in time for the Aug. 29 match against the Portland Timbers. It’s an even safer bet that he would play in the next match, Sept. 11 against Minnesota United. Either way, barring an unexpected setback, he should be able to play at least the final third of the season.
While the Sounders have managed reasonably well in Frei’s absence, his return does come at a good time. After allowing just seven goals in the first 10 games without Frei, the Sounders have given up five goals in their past three. The Sounders’ 14 goals allowed is still the fewest in MLS and Stefan Cleveland’s goals-against average of 1.00 is tied for the fifth best among qualified goalkeepers. Frei allowed just two goals in his five starts this year.