Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei could miss four to six weeks with a knee injury, putting a damper on the team's fast start to the 2021 season.
Frei sustained the injury while preparing to make a save in the final minute of Seattle's 1-0 road win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.
According to Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer, the injury is considered a sprain will not need surgery.
"The good news is ... that Stef, you know, it looked like it was going to be a significant injury -- but it is going to be termed as a sprained knee, you'll have to talk to the doctors for the exact medical thing, but there is no ACL damage in Stef's knee, which is the good news," Schmetzer said in a video call with reporters.
"Now, it is a significant sprained knee, but four to six weeks is a lot better than eight to nine months. So we are extremely pleased about that."
Sounders backup goalie Spencer Richey is expected to see the bulk of the action in Frei's absence. Richey, 28, has previous MLS experience with the Vancouver Whitecaps (one game in 2017) and FC Cincinnati (29 combined games in 2019 and '20).
Frei, 35, has been Seattle's No. 1 goalie since 2014. He previously was with Toronto FC from 2009-13.
When Frei exited injured late in the Wednesday game, the Sounders were out of available substitutes, forcing midfielder Alex Roldan to put on the goalie gloves. Roldan made three saves to preserve the win.
Schmetzer also announced that midfielder Jordy Delem will need surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Delem was hurt Wednesday early in his first start of the season.
Seattle (4-0-1, 13 points) leads the Western Conference ahead of a home game against Los Angeles FC on Sunday.
--Field Level Media