TORONTO - He wasn't even supposed to be on the bench in Wednesday night's match between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact, but TFC captain Torsten Frings did what he had to do to be on the pitch.
Frings suffered what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury after colliding with teammate Doneil Henry in last Saturday's loss to D.C. United, and the German - in obvious pain - was forced to leave that match early.
He was nowhere to be seen during Toronto's training session on Tuesday, with team staff saying only that Frings would undergo tests to see if he could play versus Montreal.
Needless to say, he passed the test.
"He had three injections in the last two days," goalkeeper Milos Kocic told reporters after Wednesday night's 2-0 victory for Toronto. "Yesterday was a try-out for him, to see how it's going to feel. This morning he had one [injection]. It just shows you what kind of captain he is [and] what kind of personality he has."
Frings was seemingly unbothered by the injury during Wednesday's match, in which he played a much more advanced role than has been the norm recently. The 35-year-old TFC captain pushed up the field as his team pressured Montreal all over the BMO Field pitch, and it was Frings' persistence - he followed up on a ball that looked destined to roll out of bounds and fired it back across the face of goal - that led directly to the 38th minute Ryan Johnson strike that put the game out of reach.
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For coach Aron Winter, Frings' decision to play the game when he easily could have rested the injured shoulder was not a surprise.
"He has done everything to play today, you could see it," Winter said. "He's a real captain."
Naturally, the soft-spoken Frings felt that there was no choice in whether he would play in what could have been Toronto's final meaningful game of 2012.
"It was a very important game for us. We wanted to win this game, especially at home against Montreal," Frings explained. "It was only pain, and it's not a problem to play with it."