Aron Winter and Toronto FC made a statement this week by signing as Designated Players former Germany national team midfielder Torsten Frings and Dutch forward Danny Koevermans. They'll be eligible once the transfer window opens July 15.
Galaxy defender/assistant coach Gregg Berhalter has a bit of history with Frings: It was Berhalter's goal-bound shot that Frings knocked away from the goal line with his left hand, securing the Germans' 1-0 triumph over the U.S. in the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals.
Scottish referee Hugh Dallas, who should have red-carded Frings and awarded the Americans a penalty kick, kept his whistle silent, and the Germans went on to the title game, in which they were beaten by Brazil.
Berhalter was asked after training Friday his memories of that moment.
"The biggest thing you take away from it is you're just shocked that between the referee and his assistants, that they can't sort that out," he said. "It's almost hard to believe that they can't see that, because it's clear to everyone else in the stadium, on TV, on the field. And it's unfortunate. Because in the end, [winning that game] could have translated to a lot more for our country, and it would have been nice.
"But that's the past, and that's exactly where it will stay."
Berhalter, who played seven years in Germany, has played several times against Frings, 34, and calls him "an exceptional player" and an "eccentric."
"On the field, in his day, he was an absolute animal, but he's also skilled, and he's good going forward," Berhalter said. "He meant a lot to all the teams he played on [Alemannia Aachen, Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich]. ... The question is going to be how does he adapt to MLS, because it's not always easy for foreigners to adapt to MLS, especially guys from Europe. So we'll see. But he definitely has the quality, and I think if the set-up's right for him, he should do well."
Does Berhalter carry any personal animosity over the hand ball that was not called?
"Absolutely not. No," he replied. "I would have done the same thing."