Frings Returns In Title Tilt

Asif Hossain - TorontoFC.ca
Frings Returns

Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter confirmed on Tuesday after training that captain Torsten Frings will be available to play Wednesday, when the Reds host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championshp Final (8 p.m. ET on Sportsnet One).

Frings injured his shoulder on May 5 against D.C. United following a set-piece collision with teammate Doneil Henry. The German legend still managed to play the full 90 minutes four days later, helping Toronto to a 2-0 victory over Montreal in ACC semifinals. That win assured Toronto's passage to the final, though it cost Frings to aggravate his injury. He missed the first leg 1-1 draw in Vancouver. The away goal from that match gives TFC a slight edge heading into Wednesday night. A scoreless draw or a win allows Toronto to lift the Voyageurs Cup for a fourth consecutive year, guaranteeing a place in the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League group stage.

On The Mark

Toronto is coming off a difficult MLS match Saturday night losing 3-1 to D.C. United. The outcome and ninth consecutive loss to start the league continue to haunt the Reds. Toronto can take some solace in that Danny Koevermans was on the mark, scoring his first goal since returning from a groin injury.

Koevermans came back against Vancouver last Wednesday, logging 25 minutes as a second half substitute. The Dutchman increased his workload Saturday entering at the restart. He got on to the end of a 50-yard Julian de Guzman free kick and knocked the ball past D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid with ease. Koevermans' frustration with TFC's record has been expressed by the forward. However, he remains committed to the team and said "to make something out of the season, we have to win (Wednesday)," for a shot at another Champions League run. Toronto made it to the semifinals in its 2011/12 CCL campaign that stretched to 16 games from the start of last year's Canadian tourney.

Finishing The Job

The Reds would have enjoyed a larger advantage heading into Wednesday's second leg had they been able to hold a 1-0 lead in the final moments of the Vancouver round. A last-minute stunning volley from Eric Hassli changed the outcome, which defender Adrian Cann spared a moment to dwell on.

When asked if the game plan in the second leg would be similar to the previous meeting, Cann joked "with regard to the goal they scored on us? No, not at all." The centre back was one of five starters from a total of seven Canadians that dressed for Toronto in Vancouver. Cann admits when it comes to the national championship the team "puts its head down and works hard for one another" but hasn't seen that transfer to league play just yet. Winning the tournament would allow Toronto to finish the job then refocus its league efforts free of cup distraction until later this year.

Seeking Consistency

Goalkeeper Milos Kocic exhibited some frustration with the way Toronto defended in the loss to D.C. United. Repeatedly making similar mistakes has cost Toronto all season, though the Reds were sound against the Whitecaps.

"I think that we played better against Vancouver," Kocic told reporters Tuesday, believing Toronto matches up well against its rival from the west. The keeper has seen the team produce enough strong performances in this competition and the subsequent Champions League to know that they are capable. "We reallly wanted to win against Montreal, we did it. If you can do it against Montreal, if you can do it against LA Galaxy, if you can score two goals in Mexico ... we have proved we can do it, now we have to do it on a daily basis."

"I think we're a very tough team when we play cup games," Kocic observed.

The Opposition