TORONTO - This could be the day things turned around for Toronto FC.
In the afternoon they announced the signing of two new designated players, former Dutch international forward Danny Koevermans and former German international midfielder Torsten Frings.
Koevermans is to provide the finish around the goal that has been so lacking for Toronto FC. Frings is to bring brain in the midfield. Both are expected to provide leadership for a team that is young and needs direction.
But Toronto FC could not afford to wait for them to exert their influence. Because of transfer window rules, they will not be available to play until the game against Dallas on July 20, so there is work to be done before then for a team that has struggled to win games this season.
What TFC needed to do was to start winning, something they had not done since May 7 for a total of nine Major League Soccer games and 10 in all competitions.
And Wednesday night they brought that streak to an end with a 1-0 win, taking a valuable three points from fellow strugglers Vancouver Whitecaps - the team they will play again this Saturday for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
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“They were points that were important, but the way we played was not good,” head coach Aron Winter said. “But it’s important at this moment to get the points. In the first half we had good opportunities but in the moment we are in front of the goal we have to be sharper.”
Winter said this game was as important to him as the Canadian Championship because of the desperate need for points in a season that it is into its second half with time running out.
With the signings and the third victory of the season there seems to be a sense of optimism around the team for the first time in a long time.
But a new beginning? Winter did not buy that. He said that started when he took the job in January.
“It’s not a new start,” he said. “I started [in January] and this is part of it, the whole process.”
He said he knew the process was going to take time.
“I knew that this would not be easy because when you’re building you’re also taking care of the youth development and the academy,” he said. “You also have a lot of players from last year.”
Then he allowed a bit of his relief at finally having a good day show through.
“It’s very nice, a good feeling,” Winter said. “Now we’re sitting here with a victory. It’s a nice feeling also for the whole process, for the players and also for the fans.”
Defender Dan Gargan, who played 90 minutes, agreed.
“This was an important game for us,” he said. “We wanted to have a good start for this week. Obviously Saturday is another important one against the same opponent so it feels good to get the three points for the league. We haven’t won in a lot of games so this game is really important for us as well, as important as Saturday.”