Stefan Frei Archive

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Record TFC crowd makes the noise, but Galaxy takes the advantage

Ryan Johnson... got the opening goal

Through the first 20 minutes of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final first leg, it seemed like Toronto FC was having the ultimate storybook performance. Playing in the biggest match (and in front of the biggest home crowd) in club history, the Reds jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the favoured Los Angeles Galaxy, driving the 47,658 supporters in attendance into even more of a frenzy.

Unfortunately for the Reds, however, there was no happy ending. Landon Donovan’s goal in the 88th minute equalized the score at 2-2 and cost TFC a chance to get an edge in the CCL tie.

“The city definitely delivered tonight and they felt like a 12th man,” said midfielder Terry Dunfield. “It’s too bad, the script was waiting for us to hold on and take that 2-1 score to L.A.”
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Galaxy’s Keane: Rogers Centre turf “could be dangerous” (WITH VIDEO)

Robbie Keane

As Toronto FC held its second practice at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday morning media had its first look at the artificial turf on which the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final will be played — and it wasn’t a pleasant sight.

Up close it was evident that this type of turf wasn’t of the highest quality and had a plastic look — almost like the first examples of this type of surface used years ago. From up above it did not look any better. It looked as though two different types of turf were stitched together to make one and patch lines were visible all over the field. One side also looked more worn than the other.

This is not exactly the type of playing surface used in a professional tournament like the CCL, especially in a high-stakes quarter-final. But with the early March weather, the match was moved from the grass surface of BMO Field to the Rogers Centre. And then it became known that it was too expensive for MLSE to truck in real grass for just one game at this time of year.

When asked about the turf, TFC Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter didn’t have much to say, positive or negative.

“No, I didn’t expect it, but it’s good,” said Winter when asked if the turf was what he expected. But he did think it was an improvement on what was used in the Buffalo Bills game last fall. “Yeah, it’s better, much better.”
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Despite shortened preseason, Winter says TFC is ready for CCL quarter-final

Danny Koevermans

Entering its biggest match in franchise history, there is no question that TFC will be playing the role of underdog on Wednesday night.

Playing in the warm confines of a sold-out Rogers Centre and in front of its biggest crowd ever, TFC’s home field advantage in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal will be crucial to the team’s hopes. But, on the pitch it will be a completely different story.

The Galaxy is the defending MLS champ and was almost unbeatable last season. But anything can happen in football, especially when the season starts anew. As stated since the match-up was announced, TFC Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter is not focused so much on LA. as he is on his own squad.

“We’re going to play our own game,” said Winter. “We know their strengths and weaknesses.”
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TFC has very little time to fix its defensive problems

Geovanny Caicedo

Toronto FC’s brass made a decision not to prepare for the season like the other MLS teams do. While other teams have been playing preseason games for weeks, TFC had been bunkered in Toronto.

Now, after Toronto played just its second preseason game — a 2-2 draw against third-division side Orlando City at the Walt Disney World Classic — there will be those who wonder if the lack of preseason game action will help or hurt TFC long-term.

That’s because the Reds need to transform two new South American central defenders, Geovanny Caicedo and Miguel Aceval, into a solid partnership. Neither player’s English is strong. And, what’s more troubling, is that on Saturday they looked like they need a heck of a lot longer than a week and a half to become a solid central defensive partnership.

While Aceval will take credit for the equalizing goal, a left-footed free kick that caromed off the arm of Orlando defender Anthony Pulis, he and Caicedo had a few lapses in the first half of the match, including a comedy of errors that led to John Rooney’s penalty-kick opener.
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TFC keeper Stefan Frei gets training stint with Liverpool

Stefan Frei

Stefan Frei can now say he has gone from the Reds to the Reds.

Toronto FC announced Sunday that the Swiss goalkeeper will train with Liverpool FC until Dec. 18.

“This is a great opportunity for Stefan and we were happy to give him permission to train with a historic club like Liverpool,” said Toronto FC Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter in a release issued by the club. “He has emerged as one of the top keepers in the league since the start of his career and has certainly earned this special opportunity.”
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Toronto FC’s goalkeeping situation isn’t clear for 2012 (WITH VIDEO)

Milos Kocic

For most of the players on the Toronto FC roster ,there is a lot of uncertainty regarding their futures with the club.

The biggest area of concern for the TFC is the backline, but Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter will be looking to upgrade his club in every area of the pitch. Winter will hold one-on-one meetings with players in the coming days to evaluate his team and potentially make decisions regarding certain players being let go or coming back next year.

Perhaps the hardest decision for him will be surrounding the goalkeeping tandem of Stefan Frei and Milos Kocic. Frei started the season as the bona fide No. 1, but after suffering a midseason injury, Kocic came in and played very well to hold onto the starting job until the end of the year.
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Winter starts TFC regulars; Angel leads Chivas to victory

Justin Braun: Scored in 3-0 rout of TFC

Aron Winter gambled, and rolled snake eyes.

With a massive, must-win CONCACAF Champions League against Pumas UNAM coming up on Tuesday, and with Toronto FC all but eliminated from the MLS playoff race, the Reds’ technical director and coach decided to start his best available XI Saturday against Chivas.

Joao Plata, the Ecuadorean sparkplug, was unavailable due to injury.

But, not only did Winter run the risk of having to sit down regulars against Pumas in three days time; his side also got a spanking from the Goats in Los Angeles.

Juan Pablo Angel, the veteran who has scored more goals against Toronto FC than any other player in MLS, targeted his favourite opponents once again, scoring with his head in the first and with a laser beam of a shot in the second. The goals bookended a Justin Braun marker, as the Goats won 3-0.
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Toronto FC and the Crew give us a game worthy of the rivalry

Stefan Frei was forced to leave the game, and was on crutches.

Since the rivalry was launched in 2007, Columbus Crew-Toronto FC has generally been more about the subplots than the actual games themselves.

We had the battles between Toronto FC supporters and Columbus police; we had the diving and pratfalling of former Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto. But, until Saturday night, the quality of the games themselves haven’t always been of the highest quality.

Until Saturday, TFC had not beat the Crew, but that fact obscured the truth that Columbus’s, ahem, domination, included a heck of a lot of dour draws.

But Saturday’s match was one that did the rivalry proud. For Toronto FC fans, there was the joy of beating Columbus for the first time. And, for neutral fans, there was a fantastic spectacle a 4-2 win for the Reds— a relief in a weekend of non-competitive matches from England (and likely more to come from Spain).
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DeRo’s hat trick allows 10-man D.C. United to escape with draw against TFC

Dwayne De Rosario

Dwayne De Rosario once again exacted sweet, sweet revenge against another former club — this time a hat trick against his hometown team, Toronto FC. In a game that saw many different storylines play out, it was still De Rosario who outshined every other player on the pitch in a 3-3 draw between the Reds and D.C. United at RFK Stadium.

On July 9 De Rosario scored the game-winner and lone goal over the New York Red Bulls, the team who had traded the forward to United in exchange for midfielder Dax McCarty only a couple of weeks earlier. Last week he was named MLS Player of the Week after his two-goal performance against his first MLS club, the San Jose Earthquakes.

On Saturday, it was TFC’s turn to taste disappointment as the former captain scored three times and will surely be up for Player of the Week honours again this week. He is the first player in MLS history to score for three different clubs in one season.
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Despite dramatic comeback, TFC still disappointed by draw

Peri Marosevic

When a team comes back, on the road, from a two-goal deficit, you’d think that you’d file this into the “draw that felt like a win” category.

But, for Toronto FC, who got a late goals from Peri Marosevic — making his TFC debut — and Danny Koevermans to draw Portland 2-2 at JELD-WEN Field, that wasn’t the case.

TFC has just 10 games left on the season, and are eight points out of a playoff spot. And, on a weekend when mid-table Eastern Conference teams like Houston and D.C United (ahem, two goals from Dwayne De Rosario on Saturday) are winning, one point isn’t good enough.

“When you come back and make it 2-2, it’s very good but honestly you have to win the game because we’ve lost two points,” TFC head coach Aron Winter said after the match. “The first half we didn’t start sharp. After 20 minutes when they’ve scored a goal then we can wake up but the big difference is after 25 minutes we started playing the way we want. After 2-0, the team reacted very well.”
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