Stefan Frei Archive

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Controversial penalty decision gives Fire the win over TFC, tightens playoff race

Mike Magee

Mike Magee

By losing in Chicago Saturday night by a 1-0 scoreline, Toronto FC has added a layer of drama to the final week of the season.

Mike Magee’s penalty-kick goal followed a controversial penalty decision. His 20th marker of the season put the Chicago Fire forward into a tie with the Impact’s Marco Di Vaio atop the MLS scoring race.

The Fire tied the Impact for third in the East, at 49 points. Each has a game to play. New England is a point back with one match left. Houston is also a point back, but has two games left. Philadelphia, in seventh, is three points back.

And, the Impact finishes the season next week in Toronto. So, you could argue that, by losing to Chicago on the same night the Blackhawks bested the Leafs (the Windy City really had its way with MLSE on Saturday, didn’t it?), Toronto FC actually put just that much more pressure on the Impact ahead of next weekend’s clash at BMO Field.

Magee scored after a penalty was awarded on a play that might remind some of the infamous 2012 Olympic women’s soccer semifinal between the United States and Canada. Back in 2012, it was an American free kick which struck Canadian defender Marie-Eve Nault on the arm inside the box, though it certainly didn’t look like she knew much about it, or that the arm/hand played the ball.
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Toronto FC reveals the price Chivas had to pay for Bocanegra’s rights

Carlos Bocanegra

Carlos Bocanegra

The allocation order rewards teams in an even more random fashion than the mysterious distribution of allocation money.

While MLS fans are never informed how much allocation money teams actually have to spend and the kind of it relief it offers from the cap, at least we have some ideas on how clubs can earn it. Finish a season poorly, and you get monetary help. If you need to sign players for a CONCACAF Champions League push, there’s allocation money for that too. You can use it or trade it.

But the allocation order is all about timing. If your franchise is at the top of the order when a marketable U.S. national teamer decides he wants to make a return to the league, you either get the chance at the player or, in the case of Canadian franchises, a chance for a big return. Let’s face it, when national teamers return to North America, they’re coming for the America part. They want to come home. They want their money to not be colour-coded.

When news broke that Carlos Bocanegra was looking to leave Rangers and was talking with Chivas USA, Toronto FC knew it was in a position of strength. Chivas was going to need to take Bocanegra through the allocation process and TFC held top spot. On Canada Day, the Reds announced the selling price; Chivas’s first-round pick in the 2015 SuperDraft and an international slot that’s good to the end of the 2014 season. Read the rest of this entry »

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2

Montreal coach Schallibaum: TFC could not deal with “injured tiger”

Marco Di Vaio

Marco Di Vaio

For the first time in five years, the Amway Canadian Championship will not be awarded to Toronto FC, soundly drubbed by a Montreal Impact squad eager to erase its lacklustre performance of last Wednesday from its followers’ hearts and minds.

The 6-0 score probably did just that, provoking numerous pyrotechnic displays and enticing the almost 15,000 fans in attendance to end the game with repeated refrains of a Montreal standard usually reserved for the ice rink.

A contingent remained behind afterwards, singing as they awaited their heroes’ departure from Saputo Stadium for over an hour once hostilities came to an end.

“I felt all day that we were going to have a good result,” said head coach Marco Schallibaum. “I also felt it yesterday in training and during my pregame speech tonight. The guys were pumped.
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Recapping TFC and Montreal’s first preseason games of 2013

The games from the Walt Disney World Classic are archived on YouTube, so that offers the chance to not have to spend a prime Saturday afternoon watching any Toronto FC and Montreal’s preseason matches.

(No offence meant, but after nearly two decades of covering pro sports, I’ve learned that there isn’t anything quite as overhyped as preseason games — and the first game of a preseason campaign is often the worst of them all. Early preseason matches usually bear no resemblances to the game that we love. Being able to take them in at my own leisure helps divde up the “work” part of the job).
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Ex-TFC Academy keeper Chad Bush joins Ottawa Fury

Chad Bush

Ex-TFC Academy goalkeeper Chad Bush will spend the summer with the PDL’s Ottawa Fury.

The Fury announced the signing of Bush on Wednesday. The keeper — who was at Toronto FC’s training camp in the spring along side Stefan Frei, Milos Kocic and Quillan Roberts — plans to attend Duke University in the spring.

But, unlike ex-TFC Academy players like Stefan Vukovic, Michael Petrasso, Dylan Carreiro or Keven Aleman, Bush isn’t lost to the Reds. A Fury official told The 11 that while Bush is no longer with the MLS team’s academy, TFC still retain Bush’s MLS rights.

“I am ecstatic to be able to say we are signing Chad Bush,” said Fury head coach Stephen O’Kane in a release. “He has been with TFC’s academy and has really excelled for them…
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3

The Roberts deal: Why TFC needed to promote a player from the Academy

Quillan Roberts

To no one’s surprise, Toronto FC announced the signing of 17-year-old keeper Quillan Roberts to the roster, promoting the Brampton, Ont. native from the Academy ranks to the senior team.

The debate about this move will rage on. At 17, isn’t Roberts better off getting games at the Academy level rather than sitting on the bench for the senior team and getting into one of those few-and-far-between reserve games? Will Roberts actually hurt his development by moving to the big club? And, should TFC, which was down to one goalie on the roster, put a 17-year-old in the position where he might actually have to step into an MLS game?

Even though the broken fibula and damaged ankle ligaments that will force Stefan Frei to miss four to six months, let’s be clear — Toronto FC wasn’t under immense pressure to sign Roberts as an emergency back-up to Milos Kocic. North America is filled with capable out-of-contract veteran keepers, each of whom would gladly take a one-year deal to be a back-up for an MLS team, at salary-cap friendly rates.

So why did TFC do it?
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4

Bad news from TFC: Frei will be out 4-6 months, not 8-10 weeks

Stefan Frei

The injury to Toronto FC keeper Stefan Frei is much more serious than first announced.

Frei, who had been battling Milos Kocic for the No. 1 keeper job, broke his left leg a week and a half ago in a training-ground accident. At that time, the prognosis was that Frei would be out for eight to 10 weeks.

But, in a terse press release sent to media last Tuesday night, TFC announced that the recovery time has been changed. Frei had surgery to repair ankle ligaments that were torn, and now is expected to be out four to six months. The club stated that surgery was “successful.”
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Terrible TFC defending to blame for three-goal loss in home opener

Chris Wondolowski: Scored twice

If there was any question of Torsten Frings’ value to Toronto FC, his absence for most of the last two matches has proven just how badly the Reds need their captain.

TFC dropped a 3-0 result to the San Jose Earthquakes in front of 20,753 disappointed fans at BMO Field on Saturday in the club’s home opener.  It was Toronto’s first full game without Frings, who suffered a hamstring injury early in last week’s 3-1 loss in Seattle and will be out of action until late April at the earliest.  Without Frings holding the fort at defensive midfield and providing cover on the back line, the holes in TFC’s defence were been badly exposed for the second time in as many weeks.

“We’ve had a big loss of Torsten not there to organize the team on the pitch,” said TFC head coach Aron Winter.  “At the moment he’s not available to play [so] we have to fix the back line….We have to resolve those problems.”
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Quarter-final rewind: Winter won the coaching battle over Arena

Aron Winter

Bruce Arena

When you think of who the best all-time coach in MLS, Bruce Arena’s name will come up more often than not. MLS Cups with multiple franchises, former U.S. national-team coach and architect of what’s arguably the greatest dynasty this league has ever seen, the D.C. United squad of the late ‘90s.

But, as Toronto FC fans bask in the afterglow of their team’s fantastic victory over Arena and his Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals, they should think to one area where the Reds held a major advantage over the MLS champs.

Aron Winter outmanaged and outcoached Arena in the second leg. Winter made the right decisions, while Arena struggled to adjust. And the coaching decisions could very well have been the deciding factors in the quarters.
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Toronto FC the last MLS team standing in CCL

Milos Kocic: Robbed Robbie Keane late in the match

If, last July, someone was to predict that Toronto FC would be the last MLS team standing in the CONCACAF Champions League, they’d have been offered some pretty sweet odds.

But, there it is — after TFC played a cagey road game Wednesday in front of a smattering of Los Angeles soccer loyalists at the Home Depot Center, the Reds are the only team to qualify for the CCL’s final four. A second half goal from Nick Soolsma, combined with sterling performances from forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Milos Kocic, gave the Reds a 2-1 win over the Galaxy in the second leg of their CCL quarterfinal, and a 4-3 triumph on aggregate.

The Reds will now face Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna in the semifinal. And it won’t be easy. The Mexican powerhouse smashed six past the Seattle Sounders Wednesday.
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