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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Achtung defence! Field Marshal Frings out of action for 4-6 weeks

Great, now who will do... um... everything?

The news that TFC supporters were dreading came out through the Toronto mist like a miserable German foghorn. Reds' captain, talisman... well, Mr. Everything... Torsten Frings will be out of action for 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury. With one gut-busting, turf-ridden tackle, The Reds' early season went from one full of optimism and excitement - to a hand wringing, month-and-a-half of hoping that the rag-taggiest bunch of defenders can hold some kind of shape until Das Kapitan returns.
The injury of course illuminates the serious deficiency of building a one-man team. While there are a few quality players on Toronto FC, the tactics have been built in a way that without Frings, almost everything else falls apart. Because of the inability to properly bolster the backline and an underperforming central midfield, Aron Winter made Frings "the everyman", responsible for babysitting a porous defence while then trying to orchestrate the engine room. While blaming this for Frings' injury maybe naive, it hurts to see the club's finest ever player hurt on a play that was caused by the centrebacks' inability to hold their line.
Of course, this is all hindsight now and The Reds have to prepare for life without Frings for the foreseeable future. Players who have so far been anywhere between mediocre, down to inept, have to step up their game in a very big way. On defence there will be no more babysitter for Ty Harden and Miguel Aceval and the temptation to rush back Adrian Cann may be hard to resist. In the midfield, if there was ever a time for Julian de Guzman to prove his worth - it is now. He must find the way to be the puppet master of the offence and become the link-up between the frantic defence and the jumpy forwards.
It is going to be a big ask for the whole squad, now bereft of the man they leaned far too heavily on but perhaps that is the only silver lining. This is the opportunity for many players to show what they are made of and their value to this club. If there is a failure to step up to the challenge, The Reds could already be in a big hole in six weeks’ time.

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