3) Stefan Frei returns in style
There is no denying Stefan Cleveland played well during the last two games, both of which the Sounders lost. The problem in both defeats instead lay in attack, with the team unable to score a single goal.
Regardless, no matter what Cleveland did -- and he proved himself as a more than worthy backup -- there is just something about having your main man back between the posts. Enter Stefan Frei, back from being in health and safety protocols due to testing positive for COVID.
Frei has been a mainstay for the Sounders, ever since arriving in Seattle prior to the 2014 season. His resume includes two MLS Cups, an MLS Cup MVP ward, a Supporters Shield, one U.S. Open Cup, an MLS All-Star selection and -- most impressively -- a CONCACAF Champions League.
With all this experience and success, the 36-year-old wasn't going to fall apart after the Rapids took the lead after just three minutes. He instead rose to the challenge, including making an excellent save from Lucas Esteves right at the start of the second half, which would have put the visitor back in front.
Even after the Sounders went down to 10 men, Frei kept his composure as the last line of defense. This included a crucial save inside the final 10 minutes, when he pushed a dangerous Lewis shot over the crossbar.
When it was all said and done, Frei won and improved his record to 8-6-1 in 15 regular season starts this season. Given that he has only allowed an average of 1.27 goals in those 15 games, it again alludes to the Sounders' lack of scoring combined with how important he is.
Prior to Saturday's game, Frei told the media he was happy to be back, so he could help the team. No doubt this is a sentiment his teammates, coaches and the fans all agreed with.