Sounders acquire Toronto’s Frei, move past Gspurning quickly

Meet your newest member of the Seattle Sounders FC, and possible starting goalkeeper — Stefan Frei

With the news yesterday that Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurnings team option had been declined, many fans were asking who will take over between the pipes in his absence. 41-year-old Marcus Hahnemann is a great backup, but I still don’t see him as anything more.

Today the team may have answered that keeper question by announcing the acquisition Toronto FC keeper Stefan Frei for a conditional first-round MLS Super Draft pick in 2015 — not a bad deal.

What the Rave Green will get in Frei is a keeper with five years of MLS experience, a recent history with major injuries — yet a solid past outside of those setbacks and a price reduction from what Gspurning was due according to MLS Players Union documents (Frei made $200,000 in guaranteed compensation with a base salary of $145,000 last year compared to the $285,000 Gspurning was reportedly due if the team signed the option).

This move is absolutely a risk for the club though, as Frei has lost his starting job over the last two seasons due to various injuries (broken leg in 2012 and another preseason injury in 2013 which opened the door for backup Joe Bendik who did not relinquish the spot). But in the three years before the injury, Frei put up very solid numbers — the best of which came in his rookie year of 2009 where the Swiss keeper went 9-9-7 and stopped 72 percent of the shots he faced.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said that Frei wasn’t a player new to their radar, likely meaning that he will come into the preseason either as the No. 1 option or battling Hahnemann for the spot — the move though was clearly not to bring in a permanent backup.

“Stefan is a goalkeeper we have liked for a number of years,” Schmid said in a press release. “He is a quality professional who brings experience and leadership to the position. Adding Stefan at this point of his career was very attractive to us.”

You can also say that this guy uses his head on the pitch…