Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei didn’t shy away from responsibility after playing a big role in Vancouver’s second-half goal in Saturday’s 2-2 tie at BC Place.
“Stupid play on my part obviously,” he said.
The sequence was described by coach Sigi Schmid as a “comedy of errors,” as Marco Pappa had a bizarre clearance toward his own net and Seattle’s defenders didn’t cover the open net when Frei ran to the corner to keep the ball from going out of bounds.
You can watch it again here, as Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie punished the mistakes:
Frei’s part in it will obviously loom largest.
“The goal is on him,” Schmid said, “and on our defenders for not stepping in on that one. … That’s something that obviously can’t happen.”
“You never want to give up soft goals. That’s something you want to eliminate. If they beat you, they have to beat you on something good. But that whole sequence was a comedy of errors because we cleared the ball toward our own goal, so it started there.”
The goal was particularly disappointing to Schmid since he felt the Whitecaps, who got off to a fast start, had started to tire in the second half.
“If we don’t give up the goal we give up, I think we have a good chance of winning,” the coach added.
Here was Brad Evans‘ perspective on Frei’s play from center back: “He was eager to keep the ball inbounds so we could push and keep pushing in the game, but away from home, maybe (we should be) a little bit safer than sorry. But also myself and Zach (Scott) have to recognize maybe. We think that he’s going to kick it out of bounds, and he doesn’t. We need to drop back as soon as he pushes out of the goal, and that was just a rookie mistake on our part in not dropping back in, because that’s an easy clearance off the line — just chest trap and play on. So little things like that. We’ll get that right next time. He’ll never do it again. At CenturyLink, it’s going to be in the Puget Sound. But we learn from our mistakes and we move forward.”
Here is a transcript of our conversation with Frei after the game:
(What happened on the two goals allowed?) “First one, I think he kind of somehow found his way through — a couple cuts. We were worried about the inside cut and both ended up diving in. He cut back to the outside and unleashed one. I tried to get my hand to it, but he struck it too hard. Second one, obviously I come out, and as I come out I realize that I’m pretty far out from the goal, so if I just dink it out, they might do a quick throw-in. The smart thing would have been just to bang if off the sideboard and make sure the ball ends up back on the field, so they’d have to wait. Stupid play on my part obviously, and it was a good finish, but thankful that my guys were there to pick me up.”
(It seems like you were able to make a couple big saves at the end, though…) “Yeah, well you have to stay in it … especially if you know you have guys that have the quality to dig you out. When we finally do get that goal, you’re ready to step up if they come your way again. Thankfully I was able to make a couple saves in the end.”
(But is it difficult to stay “in it” after a goal like that?) “That’s the life of a goalkeeper: you make one little error and it can cost you the game. The thing is you have so much time to think about that error, but you have to just let it go since there is so much time to be played. It is what it is, but definitely have to eliminate those mistakes.”
(How frustrating is it?) “Very frustrating, because our effort was there today. Disappointed with my own performance. I made good saves and whatnot, but just a stupid little error. Just have to be a bit smarter. It’s not that I didn’t make a save that I was supposed to make or anything like that. Just like I said, a stupid error.”
(Do you look to your teammates for support after that or would you rather them just leave you be?) “It’s nice when you know the guys have your back. I know the guys in this locker room respect me and are fully behind me. Like I’ve said before, we’ve had multiple games where we’ve gone behind and had mistakes here and there. We know that everybody can work together and we can bail each other out and work for each other and collectively come back, and today we showed that again.”