The 2012 Major League Soccer (MLS) season is only one game old and Toronto FC is already reeling from what could be a huge setback.
Midfielder Torsten Frings will miss four to six weeks due to a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener in Seattle last Saturday (March 17). The team captain injured his right hamstring when making a goal-saving tackle on Seattle’s David Estrada midway through the first half of the game, which TFC eventually lost 3-1. The 35-year-old former German international could miss as many as 10 games in all competitions.
Toronto head coach Aron Winter said, after the game Saturday night, that losing Frings could have impacted the game but was quick to add that defensive lapses led to all of Seattle’s three goals, including the 1-0 marker with Frings still on the field.
“It’s a big loss,” Winter said when addressing the media after the team’s workout on Tuesday. “Torsten is very important to us.”
The coach said Frings is a leader both on and off the field and finding a player of his caliber is not an easy task. He quickly added that the team is “always for a player similar to Torsten” for when a situation like this happens. When asked how he would replace Frings on the field, Winter smiled and said, “You can watch Saturday and find out.”
Although it’s early in the 2012 campaign, the loss of Frings comes at a crucial time in Toronto’s schedule, when the team has five games over the next three weeks, including both legs of the CONCACAF Champions League (CL) semi finals. The club has its home opener Saturday (March 24) against San Jose, then hosts Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CL semi finals on March 28 before Columbus comes to BMO Field for the third game of the MLS season on March 31. The return leg of the CL semi-finals goes in Mexico on April 4, followed by a trip to Montreal for a game against the Impact on April 7.