TFC trade winds are swirlin'

Injured Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei (R) slides under former Chivas USA midfielder Paulo...

Injured Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei (R) slides under former Chivas USA midfielder Paulo Nagamura in this 2010 file photo. (REUTERS /Adrien Veczan)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:44 PM ET

TORONTO - Toronto FC was actively shopping Stefan Frei to league suitors before an injury sidelined the club’s former No. 1 for six months, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

"We get calls every day and we make calls every day about individual players – some ridiculous, some you give some thought to," said Earl Cochrane, the club's director of team operations, who wouldn't confirm whether the club was close to moving Frei.

"The fact that names come up is not a surprise, but it's whether you act on those names or not," he finished.

But that doesn't mean TFC's top brass aren't looking. With the league’s transfer deadline (April 15) looming, any changes will likely come from within the league.

"You see (a club) that has some needs and might be struggling," Cochrane said. "You sense they might do something that's a little bit knee-jerk. People are going to throw you anchors all the time. You have to be weary of that and make sure that you don't give up something that you don't really want to give up."

Looking at Toronto’s roster, there are very few expendable players that could garner interest. With Frei off the table, Eric Avila is the only non-starter who has a professional pedigree.

After seeing Joao Plata’s poor form to start the season, including the Ecuadorian in a trade might be wise before his prominence fades.

Of Toronto's 10 rostered defenders, with three coming off serious injury, the only attractive commodity is Richard Eckersley -- a player the club won’t part ways with after working tirelessly to secure him during winter.

"We have conversations on a regular basis with pretty much everyone in the league," Cochrane said. "I don't think anyone's panicking."

The club insists the answers might reside within the dressing room. Jeremy Hall, Adrian Cann and Torsten Frings are set to return in the coming days and could lock down a back line that continues to cost TFC points.

"The fact that we don't have any points is incredibly disappointing," Cochrane said. "We're going to do everything we possibly can … We acknowledge the fact that we need to get something out of these next few games.”

 

BON VOYAGE VUKOVIC

After tearing up the Canadian Soccer League with TFC's academy, Cochrane confirmed that Stefan Vukovic was released to pursue other interests.

"We didn't see any reason to handcuff (Stefan)," Cochrane said. "He wasn't in (the coaches') plans."

Billed as one of the club’s most promising young attackers, Vukovic trained with Toronto's first team in preseason but was never close to signing a senior deal.

Most interesting is that the Hamilton product appeared for the Montreal Impact’s under-21 team in Rochester last week.

"I don't know where he is," Cochrane said. "I know he wasn't in the first team plans so he was allowed to leave.”

 

FRINGS BACK SATURDAY?

Head coach Aron Winter believes club captain Torsten Frings could be eligible for selection this weekend.

Labouring from a hamstring injury he sustained in Seattle three weeks ago, TFC's defensive lynchpin looks to be ahead of the announced recovery period of 4-6 weeks.

As is typical with hamstring problems, should Toronto's high-priced central player re-aggravate his injury by returning too soon, the Reds could be without their captain for an even longer period of time -- reckless for a club that's still within striking distance following a slow start.

Despite watching a 15-point gap open between the league's top and bottom clubs, with Toronto still holding a game in hand, the Reds remain just two wins away from jumping up into the playoff picture.

Although TFC’s weak back line undoubtedly needs help ahead of a massive weekend fixture, rushing Frings back could jeopardize the club's ambitions moving forward, including next month’s Canadian Cup competition.

 

THIS AND THAT

A team not struggling behind the ball is league-leading Sporting Kansas City …The Wizards set a new defensive mark last weekend in a 1-0 win over L.A. having not conceded a shot on goal in 245 consecutive minutes … Over that same stretch of games, TFC has allowed 18 shots on target and 44 attempts on goal -- not exactly resolute for a club still searching for its first shutout through eight matches … Coming into 2012, Toronto knew it would have to improve its away form in order to make the MLS playoffs. After starting 0-2 on the road this year, Toronto has taken maximum points from just one of its last 19 MLS road fixtures …The same can't be said for Chivas -- TFC's opponent Saturday at BMO Field -- that's coming off a pair of improbable away results in Salt Lake and Portland … Should the Reds drop a fifth straight league match to start 2012, the Reds will have another record to chase. No club has ever recovered to make the MLS playoffs after starting 0-5 … In fact, only three MLS clubs (KC '99, New England '01 and DC United '10) have ever started 0-5. The good news? After beginning the '99 season 0-7, Kansas City went on to win MLS Cup the following year.

 


Videos

Photos