Home Global Game CONCACAF Kocic likely to start for TFC; Dunfield relishes the chance to get on the field

Kocic likely to start for TFC; Dunfield relishes the chance to get on the field

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With so many games packed into a tight schedule of late, Toronto FC coach and technical director Aron Winter declared Julian de Guzman and Terry Dunfield fit and available for selection on Wednesday. De Guzman has recovered from his knee injury while Dunfield may make his debut when the club hosts Nicaraguan club Real Estelí F.C. in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) at BMO Field.

“Julian and Terry — they are game-fit,” said Winter. “It’s nice. Now we can finally with all the players get the good results.

“You have to take care for some players. It’s hard – with all the travelling and the short times that some of them came. You have to also be aware and careful because its not only tomorrow that is important, but you’ve got also 13 games that you have to play – at least. With some guys you have to be careful.”

Although the club did not get a result in its past two matches, Winter insists that his team is moving forward in the right direction.

“We want to make steps and we’re making steps,” added Winter. “The last two games were defeats, but if you’re watching the game we’re playing well, creating opportunities. Instead we get almost every time a goal against and those things are going to change. The important thing is that all the guys, everybody’s fit.”

Winter hopes the good results start Wednesday, but is wary of playing a team like Real Estelí.

“We saw a few games from them and we know how they’re playing,” said Winter. “Even though they’re not playing at the level we’re playing, you always have to be careful that the teams that you’re not easy. It’s a good opponent to play against and we want to get a good result.”

The coach also hinted that he may give first goalkeeper Stefan Frei a rest as he nurses a hand injury and give backup Milos Kocic an opportunity to see some action as well.

“Stefan got also a little bit of problem with his hand and he can recover well. Until now, he’s played every minute and it could be a moment for him to recover from the little problem that he has and it can give also Milos an opportunity to show everybody that he’s a good second goalkeeper.”

Kocic told Gol TV Canada that he’s looking forward to playing in his first meaningful match of the season.

“Yeah, I haven’t had too many opportunities to play so it’s going to be good to play a little bit,” said Kocic. “It’s hard when you just train, you don’t get too many minutes to play, but I’m ready.”

Frei has been a little banged up in recent weeks and is looking forward to the rest, but also thought that it is important for Kocic to get some important minutes.

“It’s good for him,” said Frei. He’s been working exceptionally well in practice and it can be tough when you the results are not going your way and you’re on the bench and you can’t really help the team out, but he’s been helping me out tremendously in practice. It’s good for him to get some minutes finally in a game that matters. For me, in terms of injuries, I’ve been carrying knocks the past four-five weeks, so it would be good to kind of get a rest for once.”

In other roster news, Winter refused to disclose further details about defender Dan Gargan. It was reported on Monday that he was to be released from the club in the coming days, but Winter remained mum on the subject.

“I don’t have a comment about Dan Gargan because nothing is approved,” said Winter. “I don’t want to speak about it at this moment. I’m going to speak about it when everything is approved.”

The coach also reiterated that he is still looking to improve his club and is not done with making changes to his roster.

“Last week I had a lot of changes and of course we’re still looking at some positions to become better. I’m still going to look and try to get those players.”

Dunfield Excited to Represent Reds
Dunfield was one of the new additions in TFC’s big shake-up two weeks ago and has yet to see action with the club due to a nagging hamstring injury. Shortly after joining the club, he spoke about the trade and how he was looking forward to representing Toronto FC.

“Vancouver and Toronto needed to make changes where they are in the league and you can say fortunately, I was one of the players to come here,” said Dunfield who was acquired on July 14 in exchange for allocation money.

“If I could have chosen to go anywhere I would have picked here. Staying in Canada, looking at the setup here, the fans are incredible, the training ground they’re moving to next year and the players — I don’t think they’re a million miles away, a couple of results and the city can be rocking.”

Dunfield understands that he is stepping into a difficult situation with all the recent changes to the club, but he does see a lot of potential for results with the new-look roster.
“It’s never easy, but the lads already here have been very welcoming, which isn’t easy when you’re looking over you’re shoulder like that. But the players that they brought in are not only good soccer players, they’re also good characters for the changing room which helps,” said Dunfield.

“The sort of steel or passion, enthusiasm that I play with can be infectious as well and hopefully that will run throughout the team. There’s definitely ability, watching training. Once we get hopefully a couple of results — easier said than done — I think we can do well in this league.”

The 29 year-old midfielder recently had one of the most memorable moments of his career at BMO Field while representing Canada on June 1. In the friendly against Ecuador, Dunfield opened the scoring with a cracker of a goal from over 30 yards out. It was his first goal for Canada and he led a wild celebration by jumping into the stands in appreciation of the Canadian supporters. It’s an effort he hopes to duplicate on his new home field on a regular basis.

“I was hoping you were going to bring that up,” smiled Dunfield. “It was an incredible moment and yeah I can’t wait to put that TFC jersey on and show the fans what I can do.”
TFC has an abundance of midfielders at the moment, but Dunfield expects to play alongside de Guzman, his teammate from the Canadian national team.

“If you look at the last Gold Cup we both played together at the same time, so I’m sure Mr. (Stephen) Hart will be happy to see us out there together,” said Dunfield. “I think that could be good for Canadian soccer and also a couple of the younger lads here who are coming through to see a couple of Canadian internationals out there.”

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