TORONTO — Justin Braun feels that he has plenty to prove after a disappointing 2012, giving him plenty in common with Toronto FC, where he hopes to kickstart his career.
Braun played 14 games, including six starts, between the Montreal Impact and Real Salt Lake last season, his lowest total since entering the league with Chivas USA in 2008. To boot, he failed to find the net in 2012, his first campaign without a tally.
“It was obviously a disappointing year for me,” Braun told MLSsoccer.com at the club’s media day on Tuesday. “Things didn’t go my way. That’s in the past and this is a new year and a new beginning for me. I know what I’m capable of doing.
“I think I’ve proven that in past years that I can be an established player in this league and I’m looking forward to coming here and proving that again.”
In five seasons in the league, four with Chivas USA, he has played 110 games with 78 starts and has scored 24 goals with 13 assists.
Last season in Montreal he started the first three games of the season and four of the first five, coming in as a substitute in the other. But by the time he was traded to RSL on July 11, he had played in 12 games with five starts for the Impact.
“I don’t know what went on there,” Braun said. “I started the first few games of the season and then kind of got pushed to the side.”
It was worse at RSL, who used him in two games with one start. He not play a minute in any of their final eight league games of the season.
“It is what it is,” he said. “That happens in a player’s career and I’m looking forward to getting going this year and turning things around.”
About to wrap up his own playing career, Toronto’s new head coach Ryan Nelsen understands that those sorts of things can happen.
“In any club sometimes it just doesn’t fit for the player,” he told MLSsoccer.com after training on Friday. “Sometimes it’s the system or the eye of the manager or the coach and sometimes it just doesn’t fit certain profiles of players.
“I know extremely, extremely good players who never made it with a certain team because of a certain style or a certain coach or something. It doesn’t fit perfectly all the time. That’s life. Hopefully we can create an environment, not just for Justin, but for all the players that will try and get the best out of them. That’s the goal, I suppose, of any coach.”