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Stefan Frei cleared to fully train

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The only hurdle left is for Frei to be cleared to play in matches.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — Stefan Frei is getting achingly close to making his return. After traveling with his teammates on the recent road trip, the Seattle Sounders goalkeeper took his biggest step forward yet, fully participating in training on Tuesday at Starfire Sports Complex. While he hasn’t yet been cleared to participate in matches, Frei was able to compete in short-sided games as well as other drills that potentially involve contact.

“He’s been cleared for an added level of training; still needs final clearance to play, but today was a first day of training,” Sounder head coach Brian Schmetzer said.

Frei has not played since suffering an injury on May 12 in a match against the San Jose Earthquakes, which ultimately led to blood clots. Frei’s injury has long since healed but he was not allowed to compete in any contact drills while he was on blood thinners.

Even if Frei were to be cleared to play this week, starting against the Portland Timbers on Sunday is probably a bridge too far, especially given Stefan Cleveland’s play. But the Sounders don’t play another match until Sept. 11 against Minnesota United and could end up playing as many as six games between then and Sept. 29, depending on if they advance to the Leagues Cup final. It seems highly likely that Frei will see at least some action in the coming month.