Home MLS Toronto FC Despite lack of English, Frings’s experience invaluable to TFC

Despite lack of English, Frings’s experience invaluable to TFC

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Even before Torsten Frings stepped onto the pitch Wednesday night, it was understood that he would be an unquestionable leader for new-look Toronto FC. Now, with one game under his belt, the German midfielder feels that he can play the role of a leader in the dressing room as well as on the pitch to help guide his young teammates.

“I talk to the team right away from the beginning, that’s why I’m here for,” said Frings through a translator after his first game. “I have a young team and I want to show them leadership and that’s what I have. I want to give them confidence and motivation because they’re kind of on a losing streak right now.”

When he joined the club it was widely believed that Frings would have to slowly bring up his level of fitness and adapt to the MLS game. However, the designated player put some of those concerns to rest after playing the entire 90 minutes and being a difference maker on the field.

“Torsten has done it very well,” said head coach and technical director Aron Winter. “You can notice also that on the pitch he always asking for the ball and he sees the game also well. For Torsten he needs maybe another game and then he’ll also be very sharp. (Wednesday) he played very well, he also made the difference on the pitch.”

Torsten Frings: PHOTO by STEINDY
Torsten Frings: PHOTO by STEINDY

As Winter mentioned, Frings’ vision is still there and his knowledge of the game is very sound, but he will need time to fully integrate himself into the Total Football system. Frings isn’t perfect as he demonstrated on his poor challenge in the lead up to Brek Shea’s wonder-strike in what was the game’s only goal. But he will improve with every practice and every game that he plays.

“That’s why we brought him in — his experience, his leadership,” said TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “He’s obviously got tremendous skill on the ball and I think we have to trust that and people sometimes shy away of playing balls to people under pressure. For him, for example he’s got tremendous skill you have to give him the ball when he’s open even if it’s just a yard or so. He proved today he’s a world class player and I think he’s going to be extremely good for us.”

New defender Andy Iro, was also impressed with what Frings is capable of on the pitch.

“He’s quality, he knows when to step in,” said Iro. “He’s hard on the tackle and keeps the game flowing and like I said once he gets a couple more games under his belt and gets adjusted to the MLS tempo, there’s no reason why he can’t show his quality for the rest of his season.”

There has been some concern with Frings ability to be a leader considering his lack of English skills. However, that notion was quickly dismissed by coach Winter.

“Where we grow up in soccer, it doesn’t matter where you’re playing soccer, you’re our leader, what he is he’s also here a leader,” said Winter. “It’s not a problem that he doesn’t make you understand in English or whatever — soccer to all of us is the same. You play with your hands and feet and everybody knows what it means if you say something.”
Newly acquired midfielder Terry Dunfield wholeheartedly agreed with Winter.

“No, I think soccer is sort of its own language and to be on the field with players like him and to learn from him is something I’m definitely looking forward to as well as the manager,” said Dunfield who was held out of the lineup due to a nagging hamstring injury. “He’s one of the best players in the world at his time, similar sort of position to me, so I can’t wait to start working with him and improve under him.”

Frings and his teammates won’t have to wait very long to see more game action as the Reds are back in action again on Saturday night. TFC will head out on the road for its first visit to Livestrong Sporting Park for an important matchup with Sporting Kansas City with kickoff at 8:30pm ET.

With games only 12 games remaining, Toronto needs to pick up as many points as possible. The team is currently tied with the Chicago Fire for last-place in the nine-team Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Kansas City sits in alone in fifth place and is five points ahead of TFC having played three fewer games.

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