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Winter focusing on positives ahead of Toronto's NCC tilt

Aron Winter and TFC prep for the NCC.

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Toronto FC

TORONTO — Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter says he understands why Toronto FC fans would be frustrated by last Saturday’s terrible 3-0 loss to Seattle in regular-season MLS play.

However, he’s not interested in dwelling on negativity as the club prepares for the second leg of its Nutrilite Canadian Championship semifinal tie against FC Edmonton on Wednesday at BMO Field (8 pm ET, Rogers Sportsnet).

“As I said when I came here, we are building a team,” Winter said after training on Tuesday. “[It will have] ups and downs. The most important thing is that you see that you are making improvement.”

To that end, Winter said that fans should not expect wholesale changes to the Reds' lineup against Edmonton despite Toronto holding a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. He indicated that he would likely rest some of his regular starters, but not all.

To Winter, every time TFC hit the pitch, it’s a chance for the club to improve and reach the level that he feels it can.

“It’s not going [as fast] as I want,” Winter said of the club’s improvement, “but I’m always an optimist.”

A cynic might suggest that it would hard to be optimistic after the loss to Seattle. The Sounders controlled all aspects of the game and if it wasn’t for the heroics of goalkeeper Stefan Frei, whose MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week performance kept the score line from becoming too inflated.

Winter said that he recognized how discouraging the game was to his players and reacted by trying to loosen things up at practice. The club held a light workout Tuesday in an effort to “get the spirits up,” Winter said.

Possibly contributing to the decision was a bug that was going through the club. Defenders Nana Attakora and Dan Gargan were both unable to train this week due to an illness possibly picked up on the return flight from Seattle.