MONTREAL – Torsten Frings hammered home a free kick in the second half to set into a motion a string of firsts for Toronto FC. And it all started with that goal.
Not only was it Frings’ first for TFC, coming two days before the anniversary signing with the team, but it also kick-started Toronto’s 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo, giving Paul Mariner his first win as the club’s new head coach since he took over from Aron Winter on June 7.
“In these situations, Torsten has an absolute cannon on him,” Mariner said of the direct kick goal. “It’s just a case of two very seasoned professionals working out a set piece and Terry [Dunfield] runs over it. But it was going at such a velocity I don’t think [Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts] could get his hands up in time. It was an unbelievable strike.”
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Frings’ goal came after Ryan Johnson was fouled by Shavar Thomas. With the ball spotted in the middle of the pitch outside the penalty area, Dunfield on the left and Logan Emory on the right were lined up as if either could take the kick. Frings was stationed just behind the ball.
First Emory ran over the ball, then Dunfield did the same. It was left for Frings to do the honors and he made no mistake. Ricketts reached high for the shot but did not have a chance.
Dunfield said it is something that has been worked on in training.
“Since Paul’s taken over we’ve spent a lot of time on set pieces,” Dunfield said, “and it’s brilliant when something like that comes off.”
“We tried it before in training,” Frings said. “It’s very important for us to score the first goal. It gave us a lot of confidence.”
After scoring the goal, Frings and his teammates joined in a jubilant group near the Toronto bench.
But the celebrating didn’t last long. TFC had squandered a pair of two-goal leads last week against Houston and New England, and needed to keep the foot on the pedal.
They did just that, picking up goals from Johnson and Danny Koevermans for the final score line – moving to 1-1-2 under Mariner after starting out the season 1-9-0 under Aron Winter.
“We played very well the rest of the game,” Frings said. “We had a couple of good counters and we scored. That was a fantastic goal from Ryan Johnson and a nice goal by Danny, a nice combination. I think it’s a good performance for us.”