After a disappointing weekend in which Toronto FC lost to bitter rivals CF Montréal, the Reds will have to quickly lick their wounds and get ready for battle once again as they host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. 

For some teams, a quick turnaround serves as a great opportunity to rectify the team’s previous disappointing result or lack of form and put a strong performance together. If given the opportunity, head coach Bob Bradley would jump at the chance to take a break and hit the reset button on his squad. 

The team’s lack of form and mountain of injuries and the general sentiment around the club certainly needs a reset. Alas, we don’t live in a perfect world and so Bradley will have to soldier on with what he has available.

Unsurprisingly, since Saturday’s match-up, the club’s injury list has not gotten any shorter. In fact, the already shorthanded Reds will be without the services of Jakhele Marshall-Rutty as the Canadian will serve a suspension on Wednesday night after being sent off against Montréal.

The Reds, who have now lost their last three matches in all competitions and enter this matchweek at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, need to correct many aspects of their game. While Bradley and his coaching staff can only fix so much without key pieces of the squad available, one thing that they can fix in the short-term is the attitude of their players. It’s becoming more and more evident that this squad has players who are not playing for the badge on the front of their shirts.

For assurances that things can get better, the Reds can take a look across the field on Wednesday to see a club who have seemingly managed to change the course of their season. The Red Bulls, who most recently occupied the last spot in the East, have found immediate success after parting ways with their manager, Gerhard Struber. 

A winless streak that saw the Red Bulls fail to win in seven consecutive matches was enough for the Red Bulls to replace Struber with interim head coach Troy Lesesne, who will serve as head coach until the end of this season. Since his appointment, Lesesne has guided NYRB to consecutive 1-0 victories in MLS league play and the U.S. Open Cup.

In their most recent outing, the Red Bulls were able to hold off their rivals New York City FC in front of their home crowd. American Omir Fernandez scored the winner in that fixture, just as he had done a few days earlier in the U.S. Open Cup against D.C. United.

The limited success that NYRB has had this season has come at home. Away from Red Bull Arena, NYRB have struggled this season, having picked no wins and three draws, in six matches on the road. It is quite a stark difference from the team that picked up nine wins on the road in 2022, most in the MLS, including spoiling the Reds’ opening day with an emphatic 4-1 victory at BMO Field last season. 

Despite the club’s poor overall record, defence has not been the source of the Red Bulls’ problem; instead, it’s the fact that through 12 matches, the Red Bulls have conceded just 11 times, the second lowest in the Eastern Conference.

Leading the way at the heart of the New York defence have been Sean Nealis and Andres Reyes, who have appeared in all 12 matches this season. Unfortunately for the Red Bulls, however, both Nealis and Reyes will miss out on the trip north of the border as both players are suspended through yellow card accumulation. That is a stroke of fortuitous timing for TFC and an area that Toronto attackers should be able to exploit. That duo are just two of eight Red Bulls starters who have been ruled out of the clash with TFC.

New York has had the majority of success in this fixture and the Reds have failed on the road and at home against the Red Bulls. Including the aforementioned 4-1 victory at BMO Field, the Red Bulls have picked up at least one point in nine of the previous 10 matches in this fixture. The Reds’ only win over the last 10 matches against NYRB came in a 3-1 victory at BMO back in 2019.

Match Details

Opponent: New York Red Bulls
Kickoff: 7:30 pm 
Watch: Apple TV Season Pass
Location: BMO Field, Toronto, ON