Parting is such sweet sorrow
When Stefan Frei appeared in Chicago this past weekend he was making his franchise leading 99th appearance for TFC. This has propagated the hashtag #FREIfor100 on Twitter as TFC fans express the hope that we will be able to give him a proper goodbye this week against Montreal. Will TFC management acquiesce to this hysteria or will Nelsen just pick the team he wants based on who may be here next year?
Also absent from the starting lineup in the last 5 games, and not even on the bench for the last two is Richard Eckersley, another player who appears to be heading for the exit albeit somewhat more unceremoniously than Frei. This may in part be due to his use of the word “apparently” when commenting on an answer that Nelsen gave about him being out of the side through injury. I fear that even if Frei does get a start on Saturday against Montreal, the “Ginga Ninja” will be watching this one from the sidelines yet again and fans will not get the opportunity to say “Bye Ecks”.
Childish retributions aside, which we have seen all too often from TFC, it is also about business decisions, we all know this. In a salary cap league with neither of them commanding (or if we are honest, deserving) a DP spot, the $200K to Frei and $310K to Ecks are a couple of the last millstones around our necks. If Kevin Payne does deserve any credit in this cluster____ of a season, hacking away at our budget and salaries would certainly be it. Frei’s challengers for the #1 jersey, Bendik, Konopka, and Roberts all earn $46.5K and although Bendik will undoubtedly get a sizeable bump after this season, it wont be to the same level as Frei! As for Ecks … Bloom and Richter were really his replacements on the right when he’s been sidelined and with Bloom also getting $46.5K and Richter only $35K, then combining their wages together they still earn less than 25% of his salary.
Before looking at some stats for Frei and Ecks, there’s another one that jumped out when looking at the TFC roster heading into next season ….. Assuming Frei and Eckersley both leave, and are followed out the door by Danny Koevermans … our longest serving players will be Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan … followed closely by Jeremy Hall, Reggie Lambe, Quillan Roberts and Andrew Wiedeman ! Wow. Bring on Season 8 !
So without further ado, lets look at both Frei and Ecks at TFC ….
“Super Stefan Frei … when he’s in the net, nothing gets by” … a chant that’s not strictly true given the 145 goals he has conceded, but as the stats below will show, there are at least 28 times when this chant has been correct ….
- Signed: Jan 15th 2009 – Superdraft 1st Rd, 13th overall pick
- MLS : 21st March 2009 @ Kansas City. TFC win 2-3 courtesy of goals from Jim Brennan and a double from Amado Guevara. Both Kansas goals scored by Davy Arnaud.
- Voyageurs: May 6th 2009 Vs Vancouver @ BMO. TFC win 1-0 on a goal by Kevin Harmse.
- Champions League: Jul 29th 2009 Vs Puerto Rico @BMO. TFC lose 0-1
- Starts/Sub(on):82 (0)
- Unused Sub: 33
- MLS Record: W21, D26, L35
- Starts/Sub(on): 11 (0)
- Unused Sub: 1
- VOY Record: W9, D1, L1
- Starts/Sub (on):6 (0)
- Unused Sub: 10
- CCL Record: W1, D3, L2
- Goals conceded: 145
- MLS: 127
- VOY: 9
- CCL: 9
- Clean Sheets: 28
- MLS: 19
- VOY: 7
- CCL: 2
- Yellows: 4
- Reds: 0
Ecks looked like a solid pick to become our first player to hit 100 appearances at the start of the season. With Frei sidelined, Ecks was one of the first names on the teamsheet and was ever present until his injury and then again afterwards for 11 games, but has recently fallen out of favour and may end up on 92 appearances for the club – a few behind Frei and also one behind Brennan and DeGuzman.
- Signed: April 15th 2011 (loan). signed for season from Burnley FC. Loan made permanent prior to 2012 season.
- MLS : Came on as a sub on Apr 23rd Vs Columbus @ BMO. Tony Tchani scored for TFC but Renteria grabbed the equaliser just after half-time. Made full MLS debut on May 7th 2011 vs Houston @ BMO. TFC win 2-1 courtesy of goals from Jaoa Plata and Maicon Santos.
- Voyageurs: April 27th 2011 @ FC Edmonton. TFC win 0-3 with goals from Maicon Santos either side of an Alan Gordon goal.
- Champions League: July 27th 2011 Vs Real Esteli @ BMO. TFC win 2-1 with both goals scored by Jaoa Plata.
- Starts/Sub(on): 70 (2)
- Unused Sub: 3
- MLS Record (starts): W12, D22, L36
- Starts/Sub(on): 5(2)
- Unused Sub: 0
- VOY Record (starts): W4, D1, L0
- Starts/Sub (on): 13 (0)
- Unused Sub: 0
- CCL Record (starts): W6, D3, L4
- Goals scored: 0
- Yellows: 17
- MLS: 14
- VOY: 0
- CCL: 3
- Reds: 2
- MLS: 0
- VOY: 1
- CCL: 1
Whatever the personal, political or financial reasons for both players going (and it has to be said none of this is confirmed yet, but seems pretty likely), I for one would like to thank both players for adding to my TFC experience over a number of seasons.
There have been 163 players who are part of, or who have passed through, the TFC roster in seven seasons. Only a fraction of these will be remembered – by me at least – with some degree of fondness either for their dedication to the TFC cause, or because of the enjoyment they have brought to fans who have had to endure a lot of garbage sprinkled with occasional nuggets of hope. These two players definitely fall into that category. So goodbye to Stefan and Richard and a sincere comment of good wishes wherever* you end up.
(* Good wishes are retracted if you go to Montreal, Vancouver or Columbus)