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Thursday, June 30, 2011

You wait all year for a Designated Player, then two come at once!

The criticisms surrounding Aron Winter & Co's "re-building" of Toronto FC had recently started to reach alarming levels in some supporting circles. A lack of results and seemingly neutral development on the pitch coupled with relative quiet off the pitch started to make murmurs of displeasure turn into yells. For a good majority of long-suffering Reds supporters though, patience was always going to be paramount with the summer transfer window the first litmus test for the new management. As far as tests go, it was a good first day.
A couple of weeks before the international transfer window opens in MLS, Toronto FC made a massive splash today by inking two Designated Players - German midfield legend Torsten Frings and Dutch hitman Danny Koevermans. With the 2011 season being lost in the dregs of re-building, the most historic and momentous signings in the club's young history may have turned the atmosphere at BMO Field from tentative to optimistic in a few pen strokes.
Frings, the 34-year-old German defensive midfielder arrives in the twilight of his career, yet with no recent signs of diminished skills or physicality at his long-term club Werder Bremen. With piles of experience with the German National squad and playing in the highest levels of UEFA club championships and the Bundesliga, his pedigree and leadership will be looked at to anchor the TFC midfield.
The 32-year-old Koevermans is a towering central striker who had quite the dynamic strike rate during his career peak in the Dutch leagues. Most famous for his stretch with PSV Eindhoven, the former Dutch international found himself on the fringes of his former club this season and eagerly jumped at the chance to become the talisman striker for the goal-shy TFC. With no history of major injury and with the size and pace that suits MLS, Koevermans has the chance to make an impact up front with The Reds where so few have before him.
We can be cynical and claim that MLSE has only approved these moves to ensure healthy ticket renewals but it isn't the time for that. The ownership has rubber-stamped three DP's, the maximum allowed in the league, and that deserves some commending. The "R" word of re-building can't stop here yet however, as the defensive squad needs desperate quality. After today's splash into the transfer market though, a few of those yelling for change will now be eagerly awaiting the next moves at BMO Field.

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