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Stefan Frei isn’t interested in making excuses

“We don’t have the luxury of sitting here and saying ‘this stuff isn’t going to count until we have a full squad.'”

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2 min read

RENTON — It’s an undeniable reality that the Seattle Sounders have been missing multiple key players in every match this year. While that may make it tough to properly assess the quality of the roster, that explanation only goes so far when assessing results.

Injured or not, the Sounders are just 1-3-3, their worst start since claiming just five points in their first seven matches of the 2018 season.

The Sounders are well aware that time is running out to start turning around the season.

“We don’t have the luxury of sitting here and saying ‘this stuff isn’t going to count until we have a full squad,’” Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei said following Thursday’s training session. “We have the squad we have. It’s next man up. We’ve taken pride in that over the last few years. That has to be the mentality when you’re missing some players who might be able to help you in certain aspects of the game. That’s just how it is. We need to play with what we have and make the best of it.”

Especially with the Sounders looking as healthy as they’ve been all year heading into the Vancouver Whitecaps match on Saturday, Frei is steadfast in his belief that a lack of talent is not the Sounders’ biggest issue.

“I think we have the depth, to be honest,” he said before alluding to the upcoming stretch in which the Sounders will play eight matches in about four weeks. “It sure is going to get tested in the next month and change. There’s no sticking around and making excuses while waiting for the perfect 11 to get on the field. That never happens and if you do that, you’re waiting until it’s too late. We’re focusing on whoever we can put on the field, make sure everyone is prepared. With how many games are coming up, we’re going to have to tap into our depth.”

Be aggressive

One criticism of the Sounders in their 0-0 tie with FC Dallas was in their aggression – not just that they only took one shot in the second half, but also in how they reacted to Paul Arriola’s hard tackle on João Paulo.

While Arriola was shown a yellow card, notably none of João Paulo’s teammates made any visible effort to stick up for him.

“Those are moments the coaching staff tells us we need to look after our teammate,” Sounders right back Alex Roldan said. “That could have been a moment where we did it. … We talked about it and need to have each other’s back. Those little things make a big difference.”

Roldan said that’s one area he feels the Sounders must improve upon against the Whitecaps, even suggesting that having more fouls would be a positive sign.

“If we don’t bring it to Vancouver we’re going to be a step behind,” he said. “We need to match that, maybe even be more physical than them.”