On-loan Toronto FC right back Mark Bloom making a strong case for permanent move

TORONTO – With a number of strong performances and four straights starts to his credit, Toronto FC right back Mark Bloom appears to be doing his part towards ensuring he will be back with the Reds next season.

The 25-year-old defender joined TFC on loan from the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL in July and has very much looked like a player who has seized his opportunity to play and made a claim for a position on TFC's roster that could be up for grabs in 2014, depending on Richard Eckersley's future with the club.

Asked if he thinks has done enough to ensure that his loan turns into a full-time deal, Bloom admitted he is focused purely on things that he has control over.

“I don’t know [if I have done enough to ensure I will be with Toronto next season],” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I can’t tell you for certain, but I can tell you that I will continue to do what I did when I first got here and that is working hard and doing my best to earn a spot.”

“I feel like I have proven to myself that I can play in this league,” Bloom added. “I also think I have proven that to the league as well. At the same time, I can’t base my overall performance off a couple games. I have to be consistent day in, day out.”

With one assist in four straight starts for Toronto, Bloom has been impressive going forward and has linked up well with his teammates. Ultimately, his future with TFC will likely depend on how the Toronto FC coaching staff evaluate his defensive qualities, which is also at the top of the player's mind.

“Going forward is absolutely a big part of my game,” Bloom said. “I’ve always enjoyed getting forward, but sometimes I do have to remind myself that I am a defender first and that is my utmost priority.”

One player who's seen plenty of right backs in his day has been suitably impressed with Bloom’s abilities – team captain and veteran center back Steven Caldwell.

“Mark is a fantastic young player who I think is going to play many years in this league,” Caldwell said. “He has done superbly well. I think to get thrown into such a tough match away to New York was a baptism of fire for him and the way he handled that was just magnificent. He’s moved on from there and is gaining confidence. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing beside him.”

With Toronto’s final two matches of the 2013 campaign against Chicago and Montreal, clubs who will be battling for playoff spots until the final day of the regular season, the biggest and most intense tests for the young fullback are likely still to come, with playoff-like atmospheres expected for the away and home fixtures.

“A playoff atmosphere is what we have to get used to for next year,” Bloom said. “That’s what we are looking to do and that’s where we’re looking to be. So these games will be a good test for us.”