Brek Shea Is Having A Rough Week

Maybe the lanky Dallas winger had already been informed of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s plans not to include him in this week’s national-team camp when he lashed out in frustration like this last Saturday:

But either way, the outburst (good stiff-upper-lip reaction from the linesman, btw) earned Shea a three-game suspension from Major League Soccer. Incredibly, he wasn’t even carded for it during the game (way to get your linesman’s back, ref), but the league’s new Disciplinary Committee stepped in on Thursday and gave Shea a three-game break.

And you know what? Maybe that’s just what he needs. He’s been run ragged after more than a year of FC Dallas games, US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League matches, national-team appearances and commitments to the U.S. U-23s. It seems like he still hasn’t recovered, as his MLS form has dipped noticeably this season.

Some time off may be just what the doctor ordered, and hopefully will return Shea to the form he found last season, when he did things like this:

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Torsten Frings Visits Nicaragua, Helps Toronto FC Advance to CCL Group Stage

We’re willing to bet Torsten Frings had an interesting experience during the past couple of days. The former German international, Werder Bremen star, veteran of two World Cups and dozens of Champions League games traveled to Nicaragua with Toronto FC for the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League play-in series against Real Esteli last night.

Frings had probably never played in a venue comparable to Estadio Independencia, Real Esteli’s 4,800-seat stadium with the patchy, uneven, and completely overgrown field. Players boots disappeared in the luxurious meadow of a pitch, and passes had to be hit with a little extra crispness to reach their target.

But thanks to two goals from Ryan Johnson—yes, we completely buried the lede here—the visitors overcame these obstacles and won the game 2-1 (and the series 4-2 on aggregate) to advance to the group stage of the CCL. Johnson scored with a beautifully taken volley in the 37th minute, and then coolly finished after a botched clearance by Real Esteli keeper Carlos Mendieta in the 47th.

Here are the highlights:

The win was the first ever road win in CCL play for Toronto and a huge breath of fresh air in what’s been a miserable season for the Reds. TFC has cycled through a record 36 players this year (tying the dubious mark set by the 1996 NY/NJ MetroStars) as new coach Aron Winter looked for the right combinations, and they’ve compiled a record of 3-11-10.

But after last night’s win, they now have plenty to play for this season, despite their awful status in MLS.

In the next stage, the Reds will be grouped with Mexican side Pumas UNAM, Panamanian team Tauro and the winner of the FC Dallas–Alianza FC series, which wraps up tonight as Dallas hosts the El Salvadoran side (8:00, Fox Soccer Channel). The Hoops hold a 1-0 lead heading into the series finale.

Brek Shea Welcomes Torsten Frings to MLS

In a moment that fans of the U.S. national team hope to see repeated often this year, former German international Torsten Frings—the man whose uncalled handball prevented a U.S. goal in the 2002 World Cup quarterfinal—was torched in a sequence that led to a goal in his MLS debut for Toronto FC.

Rising American star Brek Shea of FC Dallas did the honors, shedding Frings and launching a run before finishing with a lethal strike off the post.

Check it out:

Shea’s goal—his ninth of the season—stood up for a 1-0 Dallas win, and pushed the Hoops’ record to 11-5-5.

Toronto has acquired seven new players in recent weeks, and started five of them in the match. Frings and his fellow new designated player Danny Koevermans both got the nod, along with Ryan Johnson, Andy Iro, and Guadeloupe international Eddy Viator, who was signed earlier in the day and pressed into action as Richard Eckersley, the regular right back, sat out due to yellow card accumulation.

Koevermans and Frings each forced good saves from Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman in the first half.

Toronto FC Makes Designated-Player Splash with Frings, Koevermans

USMNT fans will remember Frings from 2002.

Toronto FC, which failed to make the playoffs in its first four seasons and has been struggling through a roster overhaul in 2011, announced the signing of two experienced European internationals yesterday.

German midfielder Torsten Frings, 34, and Dutch striker Danny Koevermans, 32, each signed designated player contracts with MLS and will be eligible to play for Toronto after July 15, when the summer international transfer window opens.

Frings, who comes to the Reds from Werder Bremen, has played in two World Cups (2002, and ’06) and in the Euro 2008 final. He’s best known to American fans for his handball on the goal-line during the 2002 World Cup quarterfinal between the U.S. and Germany. The infraction went un-called by Scottish referee Hugh Dallas, and Germany went on to win the game 1-0.

Koevermans has just four caps for the Netherlands, but has scored 136 goals in 253 appearances in the Dutch top flight, for Sparta Rotterdam, AZ Alkmaar, and PSV Eindhoven.

Perhaps fired up by their new signings, Toronto FC picked up their first MLS win since May 7 last night, edging Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 at BMO Field to run their record to 3-7-9.