Team of the Matchday: FC Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta shows MVP credentials
FC Cincinnati are the first Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs-bound team, giving them prime real estate in the Team of the Matchday presented by Audi for Matchday 29.
2022 (Seattle): Frei was voted Sounders FC Team MVP for the second time in 2022, recording 85 saves with a 69.1 save percentage in 27 regular season starts. The goalkeeper notably moved into third place in MLS history with 91 regular-season shutouts, sitting only behind Nick Rimando (154) and Kevin Hartman (112). He was named 2022 Concacaf Champions League Player of the Tournament and Goalkeeper of the Tournament following Sounders FC’s historic title-winning run this season, starting all eight games and allowing just five goals, tallying four shutouts and 26 saves. Frei earned his fourth Sounders FC Humanitarian of the Year award by utilizing his art skills and platforms to benefit childhood cancer, Washington Youth Soccer and environmental endeavors.
2021 (Seattle): Frei missed half the season due to a severe knee sprain subsequent blood clot suffered against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 12. Frei posted four saves and a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Minnesota United in his first game back from injury (September 11). Three days later, he posted another shutout in Seattle’s 1-0 win over Santos Laguna (September 14) to advance to the 2021 Leagues Cup Final – his sixth major final with the Rave Green. The veteran goalkeeper finished the year with six shutouts and 47 saves from 20 starts across all competitions. Frei earned his third Sounders FC Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with childhood cancer, social justice and voting, as well as his collaborations with RAVE Foundation and Intentionalist.
2020 (Seattle): Frei compiled another standout season in 2020, helping Sounders FC to the best defensive record in the Western Conference and fourth in the league with just 23 goals conceded. Frei also finished eighth in the league with 60 saves and seventh with six shutouts. His recorded a season-high eight saves in a scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes (July 10). Frei played every minute of Sounders FC’s campaign as the club reached MLS Cup for the second consecutive season. He moved into fourth all-time among goalkeepers in MLS postseason games played (27), second in wins (17) and fourth in shutouts (10).
2019 (Seattle): Frei earned Sounders FC 2019 Defender of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year for the second time each after previously earning the honors in 2015 and 2018, respectively. One of seven players league-wide to play every minute of the 2019 regular season, Frei ranked fourth in MLS with a career-high 116 saves and tied for fourth with 10 shutouts, to go along with a goals against average of 1.44. Frei recorded 10 saves twice this season (one short of his career high of 11), first in a 4-2 road win over Chicago (March 16) and another in a 1-0 shutout victory at San Jose (September 29). The 11-year MLS veteran finished the campaign ranked fifth in league history with 115 goalkeeper wins, tied for fifth with 76 shutouts and ninth with 929 saves. On the Humanitarian front, Frei was instrumental in granting a Make-A-Wish experience for Bheem Goyal, an eight-year-old battling Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, who trained with Sounders FC goalkeepers for a day before appearing in goal in front of 40,000 fans during Sounders FC's friendly vs. Borussia Dortmund.
2018 (Seattle): Frei enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2018, earning Team MVP honors for the first time after posting career highs in goals against average (1.03) and saves (114) as he finished second in Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year voting. This marks Frei's first team MVP honor after previously winning team Defender of the Year in 2015. He set a new franchise record with his 114 saves, which rank tied for fifth in MLS. Frei's 1.03 goals against average was second in the league among goalkeepers with at least 15 games played. The veteran was tied for third in MLS in goalkeeper wins with 18, and he recorded a 290-minute shutout streak from July 15-July 29. Frei posted nine consecutive wins from July 21-September 15, the longest stretch in league history in the post-shootout era (since 2000). On June 13 at the Supporters' Shield-winning New York Red Bulls, Frei established a single-match club record with 11 saves.
Additionally, Frei serves as ambassador for RAVE Foundation, the official charitable arm of Sounders FC, and key program collaborator on the new Sounders FC / RAVE turf playfield at Yesler Terrace Park. Sounders FC and RAVE Foundation partnered with Seattle Housing Authority on the re-development of Yesler Terrace, a low-income housing development that sits at the center of the city. RAVE Foundation collaborated to build an unrentable small turf soccer field, free for use by the entire community. In addition to the field, RAVE funded the GOALS for Art program. Led by Frei, students worked with him to add their design ideas to the goals that were created and installed on their field at Yesler.
2017 (Seattle): Stefan Frei put together another standout campaign for Sounders FC in 2017, solidifying himself atop the club record books and cracking the league’s all-time goalkeeping lists. The Swiss native was one of two goalkeepers named to the 2017 MLS All-Star Team that faced Real Madrid, and one of three finalists for 2017 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in a season that also saw him earn his U.S. citizenship. Playing his fourth season in Seattle, Frei started all but one regular season match and led MLS with a career-high 13 shutouts, surpassing Kasey Keller’s single-season club record set in 2010. In addition to finishing with three more clean sheets than anyone else in MLS, Frei’s 1.09 goals against average ranked second among goalkeepers with at least 20 starts, and his 84 saves were tied for 10th. A three-time winner of MLS Save of the Week, Frei's stop vs. Vancouver on September 27 was No. 1 on SportsCenter's "Top Plays," and his 393-minute shutout streak from July 4-August 20 was the second-longest in MLS this season. He started four of Sounders FC’s five postseason matches and did not allow a goal until the MLS Cup final, setting a new MLS record with a 624-minute shutout streak in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs dating back to 2016. Frei now holds Sounders FC all-time records for games started at goalkeeper (131), saves (385), wins (61) and shutouts (40), while also now ranking in the top 10 in league history with his 59 career shutouts (ninth), 81 wins (10th) and 699 saves (10th).
2016 (Seattle): After his third season in Rave Green, Frei became the club record holder in career saves (301) and wins (48). During the 2016 league campaign, Frei recorded a 14-13-6 mark in 33 matches with eight shutouts. He displayed one of the most impressive goalkeeping streaks in league history during the playoffs, in which he led a stifling defense to four shutouts in six matches. In the 2016 MLS Cup Final, Frei recorded seven saves, including an outstretched, one-handed tip on Jozy Altidore’s header in extra time. During the penalty-kick shootout, Frei made one save and another hit the crossbar en route to winning MLS Cup MVP honors.
2015 (Seattle): In his second year between the posts for Seattle, Stefan Frei earned Sounders FC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He appeared in 31 matches (31 starts) during the regular season, in which he recorded a 14-10-6 record. By season’s end, Frei ranked third in MLS with a new club-record 111 saves, in addition to ranking first in MLS with a 77.1 save percentage and fourth with 10 shutouts. Frei became the eighth goalkeeper in MLS history to reach the 110 saves – 14 wins – 10 shutouts plateau, and was one of two goalkeepers in the 100 – 10 – 10 club in 2015. Frei’s 44 wins over the past two seasons lead all MLS goalkeepers. In the postseason, Frei started all three matches for a 2-1-0 record, recording 14 saves and posting a 1.50 GAA. Frei now ranks second in Sounders FC history with career marks of 34 wins, 210 saves and 19 shutouts for the club.
2014 (Seattle): Frei appeared and started in all 34 regular season matches, playing for a full 3,060 minutes. Frei ranked sixth in MLS with 99 saves and third with nine shutouts. His 20 wins set a league record in the postshootout era. In his club debut, Frei recorded a shutout in the season opener versus Sporting Kansas City (March 8). Frei recorded his career-high 10th win at Chicago Fire (June 7). He made a season-high five saves at Montreal (March 23). In the U.S. Open Cup, Frei went 300 minutes with one shutout. During the MLS Cup Playoffs, Frei started all games, posting a 1-1-2 record with one shutout. Frei was a nominee for MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
2013 (Toronto FC): Frei appeared in one game for Toronto FC, a loss at Chicago (October 19).
2012 (Toronto FC): Frei started in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals against LA Galaxy. Missed remainder of the season due to injury which required season ending surgery.
2011 (Toronto FC): He appeared and started in 27 matches, logging 2,406 minutes and six clean sheets. Frei surpassed Jimmy Brennan for most all-time club appearances with 95. He appeared and started in all four matches in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, recording two clean sheets.
2010 (Toronto FC): Frei started all 28 games played, logging 2,520 minutes and making 108 saves. He finished the season with eight shutouts and a record of 8137, and also posted a 1.32 goals against average. He won the MLS Save of the Week award in Week 15. In addition, he was named Toronto FC’s Humanitarian of the Year and joined the MLS Generation adidas winter tour to Spain at the conclusion of the MLS season.
2009 (Toronto FC): Frei started 26 of all 26 games played and logged 2,295 minutes, making 98 saves. He recorded his first professional win in 32 win at Kansas City (March 21), and recorded his first professional shutout a few weeks later at home in a 10 win over Chivas USA. By season’s end, Frei had 5 shutouts. He won MLS Save of the Week for three straight weeks (August 26, September 5, and September 17). Frei finished with a record of 997. He was awarded Toronto FC’s “Defender of the Year” at the end of season. Played the first half against Real Madrid on August 7. He started all but one game of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, and played both games against Puerto Rico Islanders in the CONCACAF Champions League.
As a senior at California, Frei made 82 saves for a GAA of 0.77 in 21 games played. He was on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List and earned recognition as a College Soccer News Third Team All-American selection. In addition, Frei was on the Top Drawer Soccer First Team and named First Team All-Pac 10 and NSCAA First Team Far West All-Region. In his junior season, Frei played in 20 games, making 91 saves with a GAA of 0.77. He was named as a NSCAA First Team All-American. In addition, he earned First Team All-Pac 10 honors and was named to the NSCAA First Team Far West Region. As a sophomore, Frei played in six games, five as a starter, making 18 saves with a 0.59 GAA. He led the Pac 10 in shutouts, saves, save percentage and saves per game.
Frei is the son of Marlies and Erwin, and has one brother Michael. He lives with his wife and his two miniature shar peis. He attended De La Salle High School and was named 2005 Athlete of the Year. He also speaks German, and his childhood hero is German Keeper Oliver Kahn, and the player he’d most like to face in a game is Edwin van der Saar. He also enjoys basketball. His favorite vacation spot is the Maldives.
Acquired from Toronto FC via trade on December 10, 2013 in exchange for 2015 conditional first round SuperDraft pick.