New England Soccer Today

Frei’s Save ‘Moment of Swing’

Photo credit: Max Aquino/

Photo credit: Max Aquino/

The final score may not suggest it, but there was a moment in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Sounders in which the Revolution uncovered a tantalizing opportunity to make it contest.

Despite going down early following a Clint Dempsey strike from the spot, the locals nearly put the match back in level terms right before half. And in spectacular fashion.

Kelyn Rowe pounced on a Sounders giveaway in the middle third and sprinted toward goal before firing a shot that was ticketed for the twine before Stefan Frei made a stunning save to keep the Revolution from climbing back in.

“That was a moment of swing, for sure,” Revolution left back Chris Tierney told the media after the match. “I thought it was in the net.”

Tierney wasn’t the only one who thought the Sounders’ keeper had been beat. The strike – which came from about 30-yards – approached Frei with blistering pace, and the only thing that kept it from reaching the back of the net was his sensational reaction.

“It was a terrific save,” Rowe told the media after the match. “I thought it went in and he put it far post. It’s one of those where we try to take advantage of balls that we win off the back line in their half.”

The Revolution weren’t the only one effusive in their praise for Frei. Nor were they the only ones who recognized how fortunes may have shifted had he failed to make the stop.

“That was a world-class save that he made going down to his right at a key point in the game,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid told the media. “Making key saves at key moments is what truly separates the truly outstanding goalkeepers from the rest. Tonight, I thought he made a world class save in a key moment of the game for us.”

What made Frei’s save even more important was the fact that almost immediately after, Obafemi Martins quickly killed any momentum the Revolution hoped to gain from Rowe’s blast. He steered a Tyrone Mears cross into the New England net, putting a dagger into the guests’ collective psyche with the interval on tap.

“It was right before half and wasn’t easy,” Rowe said. “But that happens in games and you have to learn from it. I’m glad it happened now, and not in the playoffs.”

Yes, the end result of Sunday’s match in Seattle wasn’t a backbreaker in terms of the bigger picture, as evidenced by how the reigning Eastern Conference champions started their 2014 campaign. But in the immediate aftermath, Tierney couldn’t help but wonder how Sunday’s match would’ve played out had Rowe’s effort made it through.

“We didn’t have the sharpness to take the chances we did create in the first half,” Tierney said. “Had we snuck a goal it might have been a different story.”

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