Home MLS Toronto FC New era for TFC begins in the heat against FC Dallas

New era for TFC begins in the heat against FC Dallas

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Wednesday marks a new beginning for Toronto FC as the club debuts four new players in a revamped lineup. The club is returning from a 11-day break and will host FC Dallas at BMO Field.

The feeling around the team is similar to the renewed optimism that exists during the preseason — everyone is positive and looking for a fresh start while its collective eyes are set squarely on making the playoffs.

Head coach and technical director Aron Winter inherited a team that was sub-par at best and after a few months of evaluation has slowly put his stamp on the club. Comparing the roster from the opening day of the season, one can clearly see that he has almost completely overhauled his squad in his short time in charge as head coach. Yet he promises that more changes are still on the way.

“From the last game a lot of things happened,” said Winter after practice on Tuesday. “I’ve traded a lot of players because all the players at the positions that I have traded were players I needed for, first of all, to get those better results and those points in the last 13 games. But also my vision of how I want to rebuild and those players are perfect in the system.”

In fact, he announced the signing of another player on Wednesday morning — Guadeloupean defender Eddy Viator. The 29-year old has been training with the club for the past week and brings the total of new players to seven. He joins the high-profile European signings Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans and new trade acquisitions Andy Iro, Leandre Griffit, Terry Dunfield and Ryan Johnson. Frings, Koevermans, Iro and Johnson should all start the match with the two new designated players the most likely to be subbed off depending on their fitness.

The game will also be played in sweltering temperatures, which could play into the decisions of how long some players can go.

Winter also said that Julian de Guzman, Dunfield and Griffit will need more time to nurse injuries and improve fitness before they can feature in the starting XI.

“Tomorrow, of course, you’re going to start with them,” said Winter of his designated players. “This league is completely different than what they’re used to being. Of course they should have some games that you need to get your own experience about everything. They’ve seen a lot games, they know what to expect, but when you’re on the pitch it’s completely different than those things you are observing. But they are fit and I finally going to start with them.”

Despite finishing his season in Europe in mid-May, Koevermans feels he’s been away from the game enough for this to qualify as the start of a new season for him.

“For me it’s the start of a new season because in Holland I ended in the middle of May,” said the Dutch forward. “So I got my holiday and I tried to stay as fit as possible. I ran a couple of times, but you can’t compare it to when you are here. Everybody’s so fit, everybody’s in the middle of the season. So, I try to be as quick as possible to be fit.

“I don’t know if I will be playing from start, we’ll see, but when I’m fit enough I hope to play 90. Otherwise, he can take me off earlier.”

Since joining the team, he’s had a warm welcome is looking forward to playing his first game after a lengthy break.

“So far, so good,” said Koevermans. “We’ve got two new teammates, good communication, so no problem. Everybody at the club gives you a warm welcome, so no problem.”

“I’m looking forward to playing a game again. It’s been a long time now. Tomorrow is immediately an important game. Normally in Europe, you now have preseason, you play games that are for nothing, but this is immediately an important one.”

Koevermans has built a reputation as someone who can score goals for the European teams he’s played with in the past. He’s hopes to provide some offensive punch to a team that has trouble scoring while helping his new club get results at the same time.

“That’s what we’re here for – we want to win,” said Koevermans. “I want to win every game. As a soccer player, you have to win every game and you have to want to win every game. So that’s what we’re here for – we want to win, we want to get some points and make it up the table.”

As for the raucous TFC fans, he has already experienced it firsthand.

“At first he (Winter) just told me that the stadium with every home game it’s packed – it’s sold-out. I was here at the home game against Vancouver and they were noisy and it was a win. So, I hope we win again…I hope we can make the fans happy.”

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