TFC 2012




No Frings, No Cry

Oh Captain, my Captain. Gone so soon? It wasn’t even a May to September, Fringsy-baby. These are going to be four to six very long weeks waiting for you to recover.

In the meantime, we will get to watch a thorough testing of Aron Winter’s roster. Youth and depth at midfield are going to have to rise to the occasion. Judging by the match in Seattle last weekend, Aceval will have to fill the role Herr Frings plays in shoring up the defense. If you’re like me, your palms are getting sweaty already and the butterflies are busy in your gut.

There are three MLS matches in the next 14 days. A playoff bound TFC would look at those contests against San Jose, Columbus and Montreal as 9 vital early season points.

Of course, there also are two do-or-die matches in the Champions’ League Semi-finals over the same stretch. These are against a Santos squad that made the Seattle Sounders look foolish recently. Yeah, that’s the same Seattle team that just beat the Reds 3-1.

Youngsters Playing Big

This is a lot of pressure for a young team to absorb. It’s early in the season, the roster is still being filled. Probably, we should all lower our expectations. I don’t mean let go of hope, but adjusting to Frings’ absence will be a major test now.

If the team can find a way to hold fast at the back, I think they can run with any team in the league. There are goal scorers (congrats to Ryan Johnson for winning Goal of the Week this week) now, with both Koevermans and Plata due for a tally. Our keepers are both playing well too (though, sadly, it seems Stefan Frei was injured in training today). In short, there’s still lots to be positive about with TFC.

For the next two weeks, however, it’s results I’ll be obsessing over. It’s one of Winter’s four pillars for the club, and it’s a crucial moment for this season’s fortunes. It is hard to imagine TFC without Frings holding them together at the back. Despite the scoreline last weekend, the defense looked better than I would have guessed without him. Let’s hope Winter had time in training this week to prep them for this change.

On the way from San Jose

Alan Gordon is the only Red left with the Quakes from last year’s transactions that sent him, Nana Attakora and Jacob Peterson to California. He’s just regaining match fitness after a long rehab from surgery late last season. Loping like a wounded Gazelle, Gordon paid back the LA Galaxy for trading him when he potted two goals wearing TFC red last year. Maybe Quakes’ coach Frank Yallop won’t bet on that possibility Saturday. I am intrigued to see what Gordon looks like running in good health, but I’ll be happy if he rides out the game on the bench anyway.

I would have been 3-0 or 3-1 confident in Toronto FC at home against San Jose, with a healthy Frings in the lineup. Without him, I think the Reds will be playing a nervous game Saturday. To win, they’ll need to push forward aggressively and take the game to the Quakes. A hearty opening-day crowd ought to help motivate some scoring. I’m guessing TFC will be a bit tentative, though, worried about making mistakes at the back. It’s one of those chicken and egg conundrums – will mistakes get made because they’re worried about making mistakes?


TFC  2  –  1  SJ


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