Toronto FC were brought back down to earth on Saturday with a bang.
TFC crashed 3-1 to Seattle at CenturyLink Field in their league opener and, in the process, lost their captain and arguably most influential player, Torsten Frings, to a hamstring injury in the 24th minute when they were already down 1-0.
Now the wait is on to determine the severity of the injury.
“Not yet,” Toronto FC head and technical director Aron Winter told MLSsoccer.com in a telephone interview when asked if he knew the severity of the injury. “We will know tomorrow and we will see how bad it is.”
Frings was replaced by rookie defender Aaron Maund, with Doneil Henry away with the Canadian U-23 team who are competing in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for this summers Olympic games.
A long-term injury to Frings, who solidifies the defense and also makes intelligent passes forward to help build attacks, would be damaging to Toronto's hopes of building on their fine CONCACAF Champions League form.
The result on Saturday night was a shattering end to a dream week and a half for the Reds.
Toronto upset the LA Galaxy 2-1 on Wednesday at The Home Depot Center to win their CCL quarterfinal on aggregate 4-3. In the process, they became the first Canadian club to advance to the Champions League semifinals. But that didn't interest Winter on Saturday.
“What we have done against LA is in the past and now we have to go after the league,” Winter said. “We played decent but we gave away some goals so easy and we made Seattle stronger. Before they scored we had more opportunities and then the first goal was our own fault. ... A scrimmage in front of the goal, it was too easy.”
Having Frings missing perhaps impacted the backline in the second half as Winter bemoaned defensive errors.
“The second goal also, I couldn’t see it well but I thought maybe it was offside or whatever but at that moment we didn’t defend well,” Winter said.
Ryan Johnson, who hit the crossbar with a header in the first half, put Toronto back into the game with a sublime effort. The talented attacker cut in from the right hand side before curling a wonderful left footed strike in off the post, to record his third goal of the 2012 season.
But Seattle immediately struck back as David Estrada completed his hat trick.
“The third goal was also our mistakes,” Winter said. “Too easy.”
And if Frings is lost for any length of time, the season won’t become any easier for Toronto.
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