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Talk of dissension in locker room ‘bullshit,’ Stef Frei says

Team captain convinced team spirit remains high following players-only meeting.

Last Updated
2 min read

RENTON — Coming off their first multi-goal loss of the season in which they finished the match with just nine men and left them with their worst eight-game start ever, the Seattle Sounders held their first players-only meeting of the season.

From captain Stefan Frei’s telling, it wasn’t so much an airing of grievances as it was a chance to make sure everyone was still on the same page.

“We thought it was important for us to check in, talk amongst ourselves and be able to speak and hear everybody,” Frei said following Tuesday’s training session that started about 30 minutes later than usual. “We wanted to hear opinions, not just from veterans. Sometimes when you talk it’s captains, it’s seniors, I’m interested in hearing from a guy who’s only been here a few months, who has a different set of views and eyes on things. I think it was good.”

Throughout the Sounders’ 1-4-3 start to the season, Frei has maintained that he believed in both the talent and character of locker room. He said the meeting only bolstered that sense.

“A meeting like that tells you that we’re strong together, we are together,” he said. “I saw some things online about players not standing up for each other, about João getting fouled, about me getting fouled. That’s bullshit. That’s just people saying stupid stuff, they have no idea what they’re talking about. Our locker room is strong, it’s together. You have no clue because you’re not in it. Relax with that. It’s good to have a meeting like that to assure yourself that you got me, that it comes from a good place and I believe in you.”

Frei has also been insisting that the quality of training sessions have been high and he wants to make sure that doesn’t change. The only way the Sounders’ results will get better is by focusing on little fixes that everyone can control, rather than looking for some magic bullet.

“Everyone tries to find solutions, but the solutions are in the simple things, in the basic things,” he said. “Those are things the ones you can control and focus on. I can’t control a lot of things on offense, but I can control how I play a pass to Yeimar. Those are small details I can focus on and demand from teammates.

“I’m not just talking about passing … I’m talking about other things like body language, defending and helping each other out. Seeing the opportunity when you see someone making a mistake, instead of deflating seeing it as a chance to bail someone out. … Those are the basic things I’m talking about and can work on everyday. I’d rather focus on that because when someone says ‘what’s not working?’ It’s really hard to find an answer. I don’t think we’re too far off.”

Injury updates

  • Schmetzer said Pedro de la Vega would be out “at least” another four weeks following his most recent injury.
  • Reed Baker-Whiting was training off to the side, but is at least in consideration for joining the team on their two-game road trip to the East Coast.