Frings to miss remainder of MLS season

Toronto FC's Torsten Frings battles for the ball against Santos Laguna's Juan Pablo Rodriguez (R)...

Toronto FC's Torsten Frings battles for the ball against Santos Laguna's Juan Pablo Rodriguez (R) during the first half of their CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Toronto August 28, 2012. (REUTERS)

Kurtis Larson, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:23 PM ET

It was a question some pondered before this week.

And after Toronto FC announced Wednesday that Torsten Frings will miss the remainder of the season due to a hip injury that will require surgery, it was answered.

"You've always got to take age into consideration," TFC head coach Paul Mariner told the Sun. "(His injury) is basically wear and tear."

Although Mariner said the club expects Frings back in 2013, it's possible Toronto's 35-year-old midfielder may have played his last match at BMO Field.

"It's basically how successful the surgery is and how successful he is when he comes back into preseason," said Mariner, when asked if it’s the type of injury that could end the World Cup veteran’s career. "With the rigours of (MLS) it's basically a decision he'll have to make whether he thinks he can do it. We're expecting him to be back and we're expecting him to be fit but it's his body."

Currently in Germany discussing where to have the procedure, a marked drop in production has seen Frings' status within the stands plunge in recent months -- something Mariner attributed to an injury-plagued season, which began with a hamstring setback in the season opener.

After missing five games to start the season, a shoulder injury in March caused Frings to miss more time. Mariner said he thought by holding Frings out two weeks ago in Houston his captain would be fresh for last week's Champions League match.

But after watching him struggle through the final 15 minutes of a devastating loss to Santos Laguna-- one that Mariner chalked up to Frings' poor defending -- the club sent its captain for an MRI, which ultimately led to this week's decision.

"When I first caught wind of this problem I thought maybe we can manage it through treatment," Mariner said. "I've been through this situation myself where you basically don't train and you just play and it's no good.

"But with (MLS) the way that it is -- we've played a lot of top teams recently -- you need to be fit to play in this league."

After an ACL tear knocked out Danny Koevermans in July, the Dutchman's replacement, Eric Hassli, has been in and out since joining this summer. Add to the Stefan Frei's leg fracture, Reggie Lambe's MCL sprain, Doneil Henry's swollen knee, and Jeremy Hall's injury concerns and the club's lack of depth has been exposed.

"You can only take so much as far as an MLS squad is concerned," Mariner said. "It's not an easy league to coach or to play in. I've been saying recently that we're only a few players away. I firmly believe it."

In fact, TFC is “four” players away, according to Mariner. But that number could increase with Frings sidelined.

STARTING ‘TO MOVE’

Just a handful of matches away from his first offseason, Mariner distanced himself from his predecessor Wednesday.

“I’ve had since June,” said TFC’s first-year coach, who took over for Aron Winter midway through the season.

Although a host of supporters continue to lump the Englishman in with the club’s former regime, Mariner insisted his hands were tied for the past two seasons.

He went on to say his first task this offseason would be finding a centre back to pair with Darren O’Dea.

“As the director of player development you can only do so much,” he said. “I had no say on team selection, no say on formations and no say on anything to do with the field. Now we’re going to start to move.

“We’re (still) playing for a hell of a lot in my viewpoint. Every single game and every single playing session that we take part in is meaningful.”

Just not in the way TFC fans would like it to be.

DOT DOT DOTS

Although he missed most of August with an MCL sprain, Reggie Lambe will play for Bermuda this weekend, which isn’t sitting well with his head coach. “Because of (FIFA) rules and regulations … we released him (to Bermuda),” Mariner said. “I’m not happy about it.” … He also isn’t happy with one of his more creative players at the moment. “(Eric Avila) should be in the team, but he hasn’t showed the attitude in games and training,” Mariner said. “When he came on against Houston I expected a little bit more from him to be perfectly frank.” … After loaning out Joao Plata to LDU Quito, Mariner said the club still expects the Ecuadorian winger back in January … In terms of the recent ‘keeper controversy at BMO Field, Mariner is looking to send Frei to England for offseason training. Toronto’s other three ‘keepers will be addressed in the offseason. “It depends on financial demands,” Mariner said. “Everyone wants to renegotiate their contracts. If you look at the goalkeeper ranks we’ve got … that’s probably as good as you’re going to get. But it’s about whether people are happy with that scenario.”

 


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