CCL: Frings absence could lead to TFC formation change

TORONTO – It has become more and more apparent just how valuable Torsten Frings is to Toronto FC.

Since losing their captain to a hamstring injury, the Reds have struggled ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series opener against Santos Laguna on Wednesday (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer, Live Chat on MLSsoccer.com), and the TFC coaching staff have realized a change in tactical strategy may be needed to overcome the Mexican first-division leaders.

After being beaten easily in back-to-back league games by a combined score of 6-1, TFC are open to altering their formation in hopes of stabilizing their backline until the Designated Player returns.

“You see with one piece apart from the team, it’s difficult,” assistant coach Bob de Klerk said on Tuesday. “And it’s not an excuse because you have more players, but you can see what an impact it can have, a big player like Torsten Frings and what he can bring with us.”

Frings allowed Toronto FC to successfully implement a 3-4-3 system, a formation in which the team has looked most stable. Playing in between the two center backs, Frings commandeered the back line to ensure that TFC were able to seamlessly pull back to a 5-3-2 when necessary. In the absence of Frings, manager Aron Winter instead fielded a 4-3-3 lineup and TFC lost 3-0 at home to the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend.

“If you mean 3-4-3 or 4-3-3, you also play in that system because you have Torsten Frings – he can play in that system,” de Klerk said. “He can be a very important piece in that, but if he falls away and you don’t have anybody who can play exactly in that role from Torsten Frings then you have to find another solution.”