Toronto's Stefan Frei is down during a crushing defeat to Philadelphia.

Winter trying to "stay calm" after record-breaking loss

TORONTO – Where do you go after conceding the most goals in club history and losing 6-2 at home?

Well, you regroup for the immediate future and reload for the long-term.

Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter has said all along that he is conducting a rebuilding process. He has mentioned looking at the summer transfer market, looking for more of the type of players who can fit into his idea of what the team should look like.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Toronto 2, Philadelphia 6

He talked about that after Saturday’s humiliating loss to the Philadelphia Union, a game that offered some false hope when Maicon Santos scored twice early in the first half to bring Toronto back to 3-2 only to have the team suffer a collective relapse and give up three more goals.

But looking to what is available on the market is a given. If you’re rebuilding, you never stop looking. Even if on Saturday, the rebuilding looked more like a dismantling.

Winter also mentioned how this team still does not have balance.

“Because it’s impossible,” he said. “One week you are playing well, and after a week later you don’t get a performance where you have one the previous week.”

Whatever gnashing of teeth that there is after Saturday’s loss, there is still a game next week. So if you are the coach, you try to keep an even keel.

“When you are rebuilding, there are ups and downs,” Winter said. “And also after a defeat like today you have to stay calm. I could be upset with the guys, but you have to still have faith and train on those things.”

If you are goalkeeper Stefan Frei, you remember some things that happened earlier in your career that could have been devastating but ended up making you better. You remember the chance to play for the Swiss national team when you were 14 or 15 when you put so much pressure on yourself and were so psyched up for that game that you made a costly mistake. He sees it as a turning point, one for the better, in his career.

“It was a very tough to deal with that kind of pressure,” Frei said in a reflective moment after Saturday’s game. “I learned a lot from that mistake. It was a tough moment for me but very important for my career.”

Saturday was a similarly tough day to deal with, and Frei wants to use it in the same way.

“The good memories are always the easy ones and you don’t learn anything from them,” he said. “But these are the tough ones. But these are the ones that are going to make you better.”

There will be time to reflect and a time to get on with putting it aside and dealing with Sporting Kansas City next Saturday in front of the same supporters at BMO Field.

“I don’t think anyone will forget about it,” defender Ty Harden said. “If you’re not motivated by that, if you don’t want to prove that you’re much better than that, there’s something wrong with you."

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