TORONTO — Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter isn’t one to dwell on the past. Despite a frustrating 1-0 loss at Dallas on Wednesday that saw the Reds called for a borderline penalty in the box, the coach was not interested in casting more blame Friday at training.
Winter was exceptionally critical following the game, saying, “Every game we’ve had problems with the ref. Every game. It’s ridiculous, honestly.”
The comments were widely reported in Toronto and were a talking point in in the lead-up to Saturday. Winter wasn’t prepared to fuel the fire any more on Friday.
“What happened Wednesday night against Dallas with the referees,” he said. “I’ve closed the book. You are never going to win [against the refs] — I’m taking care to make sure that we are well prepared for tomorrow.”
With a team in Chicago that is below Toronto in the standings coming to town Saturday (7 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live), one would think that Winter would view it as a must-win situation. Although he says he clearly wants to win every game, Winter continues to insist that he’s talking a longer view than that.
“If you’ve seen us play every game, you’ll know that we are making good improvement,” the coach said. “We’re playing well, we’ve had a lot of possession and chances. ... That’s the important thing.”
Going into the midweek loss, Toronto had won three of four in all competitions. Winter says it’s important to get that momentum back.
“It’s a pity that we lost that game against Dallas because we had been getting some momentum and playing well,” he said.
For ‘keeper Stefan Frei, there is a little extra motivation in the game — it’s a chance to get one over on a friend and former teammate.
“I’ll be playing against my man, Jon Conway,” Frei said of the veteran netminder who has recently won the starter’s shirt in Chicago. “It’s nice to see him getting some minutes. But come Saturday, he’s not going to be my buddy for 90 minutes. Afterwards, maybe we’ll grab a beer or something.”
Frei says that the club has been working hard at starting games better, and that poor starts have been TFC’s Achilles heel early in the campaign.
“We’ve gotten better,” he said.
The Reds will be without Alan Gordon in the contest. Although the striker trained Friday for the first time since being injured May 4 against FC Edmonton in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, Winter said the club is targeting next Wednesday or Sunday as a return date for the big man.