TORONTO — Toronto FC have a chance to put their newfound confidence to the test Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls (8 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The Red Bulls are second in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference with 25 points, seven points clear of eighth-place Toronto with a game in hand. Aron Winter's squad is trying to rebuild and they can look to the Red Bulls as example of how quickly it can be done.
“I was in a similar situation before with the Red Bulls in 2009,” defender Danleigh Borman explained. Borman came to Toronto FC with midfielder Tony Tchani and a first-round draft choice on April 1 in exchange for midfielder Dwayne De Rosario.
The Red Bulls went 5-19-6 in 2009, the worst record in MLS that year. But a 5-0 win against TFC in the final game of the season both knocked the Reds out of the playoff race and gave RBNY momentum that they used to win the regular-season Eastern Conferenc title in 2010.
Now the Red Bulls are in a strong contending position in MLS while Toronto are still looking for their first playoff appearance.
“I’m sure Toronto can do the same thing,” Borman said of New York's turnaround. “We just need a little bit of patience. We can’t be switching our players. We need to keep a few core players, a nice core that you can build on.”
TFC are riding the high of winning their first two games since May 7, beating the Vancouver Whitecaps last Wednesday 1-0 at BMO Field in an MLS match and following up with another home victory against the Whitecaps, a 2-1 result for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
The Reds also added two designated players last week in forward Danny Koevermans and midfielder Torsten Frings as head coach Winter tries to build stability in a team that has seen too much change in players and in coaches. The newcomers will be eligible to play on July 15.
“That’s always what you want to do as a club, you want to bring in players that you could have for a couple of years and then you don’t have to switch them up,” Borman said. “You play together, know each other, create a culture on the team, a football culture that’s consistent and everyone can adapt to. So if you have a player coming in he can fit in with the culture."
That's an aspect Toronto have struggled with, enduring an almost-constant turnover of coaches and players since coming into MLS in 2007.
“When you’re changing your players each year it’s not going to be good for the team," Borman explained. “But you need results, also, right? So that’s where you have to weigh it out whether you wait a year or two or do you want results at this moment. Obviously you want to win every game, but it takes longer to build a culture like Real Salt Lake, like New York, like the LA Galaxy. It takes time to build things like that.”