The Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps have fewer wins and more missing players than they would have hoped at this point in the season.
One bright spot for Seattle is Stefan Frei, back in goal Thursday as the Sounders trained at CenturyLink Field for the Whitecaps’ visit at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“I feel great,” Frei said. “It’s good to be back practicing, and obviously it’s important to be able to practice 100 percent before the game. I’ve had a couple of good sessions, and I feel fit, I feel ready, I feel sharp.”
Frei explained that the problem had been inflammation in his elbow, which limited his movement far more than someone in his line of work can afford.
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“I couldn’t touch my nose,” he said. “I obviously had to go get it drained and had to put some cortisone in it. It turns out there’s a little chip of bone that came off inside the joint, and it’s just floating around now — apparently not very uncommon for goalkeepers.”
Tyler Miller, a 2015 draft pick, started in place of Frei last weekend in a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake.
Meanwhile, coach Sigi Schmid indicated centerback and captain Brad Evans (shoulder dislocation) won’t be ready for this Cascadia Cup opener between two 0-2 teams.
“Brad’s doing much better, getting much more comfortable with the ball, so he was doing a lot more ball work,” Schmid said. “Now we just need him to still avoid contact for a little bit. But with the bye week after this week, we think by the time we play (Montreal on April 2) he should be ready to go.”
Zach Scott started in Evans’ place at RSL.
Also Thursday, the Whitecaps learned that homegrown midfielder Kianz Froese will be suspended for the match — the MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled that he made a serious foul last week against Sporting Kansas City that endangered the safety of an opponent. Froese, 19, had appeared in both Whitecaps matches, with one start.
The committee also fined RSL midfielder Sunny Obayan for embellishment after drawing a foul from midfielder Osvaldo Alonso in the 86th minute. That play led to the free kick that produced Salt Lake’s winning goal.
MORE STARS HONORS
The Tacoma Stars added two postseason awards from the Major Arena Soccer League as Darren Sawatzky was named coach of the year and Danny Waltman goalkeeper of the year.
Sawatzky guided the Stars to a 13-7 record and a playoff appearance in their first full season in the league.
“We had a lot of players new to the MASL this year, and they all worked extremely hard for me,” Sawatzky said through a club release. “… I am thankful for the recognition. Our entire group worked hard to make sure the Stars were recognized.”
Waltman, 34, was in goal for every game and ranked in the league’s top 10 in all goalkeeping statistical categories. On Tuesday, he had been named to the All-MASL first team.
Also in those earlier awards, Tacoma defender Adam West received all-league honorable mention, and midfielder Michael Ramos was named to the all-rookie team.
Waltman, a native of Gig Harbor, also had been a finalist for MASL most valuable player, but that went to Soles de Sonora forward Franck Tayou of Cameroon.
Arsenal Ladies FC will meet the Seattle Reign in a friendly at 7:30 p.m. on May 26 at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.
This will be the English side’s first match in the United States in more than 10 years. The pairing pits Reign coach Laura Harvey against the club she coached to a 91-8-10 record from 2008-2012. Reign midfielder Kim Little also will be facing her former team for the first time.
Tickets are on sale at Reignfc.com/tickets.