Stefan Frei will have surgery on Tuesday to repair the broken nose he suffered over the weekend, and it’s unclear how much time the Toronto FC goalkeeper will miss as he recovers from the injury.
The incident occurred in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Columbus Crew during the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla., late in the first half after a collision with Crew striker Ryan Finley.
Frei charged out of the box and went down to cut off a long Columbus pass and Finley was running toward him to get the ball. Finley’s boot hit Frei on the left side of the nose, and the ‘keeper left the game after staying down on the field momentarily.
It was Frei’s first game after missing almost all of last season when he suffered a fractured left fibula and torn ankle ligaments during training last March.
He told reporters on Sunday that he actually relished the idea of putting himself in a difficult spot as part of his comeback, even if it results in him wearing a protective mask when he returns.
“I knew I had to go in with my head,” Frei said. “I could have gone in with my leg but I knew that wasn’t going to be allowed, and he decided to go in with his leg.
“That’s just the nature of the sport,” he added. “Absolutely I need to put myself on the line. You play the way you practice. If I’m not going to go out in a game like that who’s to say I can do that in real match?”
“I’m actually excited about the fact I went for it,” Frei went on. “It shows I’m not afraid. I knew it was going to be painful as soon as I saw him going in with his boot.”
Backup ‘keeper Joe Bendik replaced Frei on Saturday and likely will get the start on Wednesday when TFC play Orlando City. The 23-year-old Bendik joined Toronto in an offseason trade with the Portland Timbers. He played in five league games with the Timbers last year, including three starts.