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Earthquakes-Toronto FC Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- A surprising result gave Toronto FC plenty of momentum heading into MLS play.
Injuries have already dampened those good feelings.
With captain Torsten Frings already out for several weeks after getting hurt in the season opener, Toronto will be without goalkeeper Stefan Frei even longer starting with Saturday's home opener against the San Jose Earthquakes.
After missing the MLS playoffs for the fifth consecutive season in 2011, Toronto FC (0-1-0) opened league play last Saturday against Seattle just three days removed from advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals with a 2-1 second-leg victory at reigning league champion Los Angeles.
Toronto, the lone MLS club left in that competition, opens the first leg of the semifinals versus Santos Laguna on Wednesday at BMO Field, but the main concern right now for coach Aron Winter is fielding a healthy team.
The team announced Tuesday that Frings will be sidelined four to six weeks after suffering a strained right hamstring in the 24th minute of a 3-1 defeat against the Sounders.
"It's a big loss, that is the biggest loss (we suffered) Saturday," Winter told the club's official website.
The injury list got a little longer with Frei breaking his leg during Friday's scrimmage. Team trainers placed an air cast on his left leg and he needed crutches to leave the practice field after appearing to catch his leg in the grass while going after a ball.
Frei will undergo an MRI next week to determine whether surgery is needed, leaving Milos Kocic as the starter for the time being.
The Serbian goalkeeper, who started the final leg versus Los Angeles and made four saves against the Sounders, is 0-1-1 against San Jose after making two saves the last time these clubs met, a 1-all draw in Toronto on Aug. 27.
The result was the same in a April 9 matchup in Santa Clara, Calif.
San Jose (1-1-0) opens a stretch of five of eight on the road after splitting two at home to kick off the season. After posting their first season-opening win since 2003 with a 1-0 victory over New England on March 10, the Earthquakes lost 1-0 to Houston last Saturday.
San Jose had 22 shots but just five were on goal.
"I don't think we need to change anything," Chris Wondolowski told the Earthquakes' official website after his six-game goal-scoring streak ended. "We are creating opportunities. If I had those three or four chances next game, and I'm a betting man, I'm betting a lot of money that I'm scoring those."
Wondolowski has four goals in his last three games versus Toronto, including one Aug. 27.
Forward Alan Gordon, who scored Toronto's goal in the April 9 meeting, returned to Earthquakes practice Monday following offseason hip surgery, but he's not expected to make the trip to face his former teammates.
Ryan Johnson, acquired in the Gordon deal July 14, found the back of the net last Saturday for Toronto.
Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch is expected to make his 200th career MLS start.
Updated March 24, 2012