TORONTO - Toronto FC’s management might have to make a major decision it would prefer not to this off-season.
Go with Stefan Frei or Milos Kocic in goal.
Frei was considered by many the top keeper in MLS at this time last year, but was beset by injuries, which prevented him from playing behind a much-improved squad down the stretch.
Kocic benefited from Frei’s absence, leading the team to the Canadian Championship and through to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time.
Kocic’s 3-1-4 record in league play was quite a bit tidier than Frei’s 3-12-11 mark, but Frei was often the only bright spot in the first half of the season and had a far weaker supporting cast.
The club gave up an MLS-worst 59 goals, but neither Frei nor Kocic could be faulted for the vast majority of them.
The pair are roommates on the road and close friends and stated on Monday that they would be comfortable splitting time again next season.
“It’s one team. If we’re both fighting for the same spot and we push each other that’s going to help the team,” Kocic said.
“You want to be No. 1 (but) I’m not envious if he plays well. We swallow the pride, we work together to try to improve.”
Frei admitted though that if Kocic becomes a top-flight starter as well — in Toronto or elsewhere — that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“If we are both starters, it all works out,” Frei said.
“It’s good for the team, but also good for us as individuals.”
TFC has team options for next season on both players and would prefer to use them.
“There is a lot of pressure on the goalkeepers within the system,” said director of player development Paul Mariner.
“When you are going cross-border all the time, playing 50 odd games, it really does take a toll on (the) body.
“We’re going to try (to keep both of them). You’re well off with both.”