Toronto, ON – Red Bull New York visits BMO Field on Saturday, and it may be facing Toronto FC at the wrong time.
Toronto struggled mightily off the bat, beginning the season with a pointless 0-9-0 start. But following the firing of head coach Aron Winter, TFC has managed to take five points from four games under Paul Mariner to inch closer to a spot out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
In its most recent outing, Toronto caught fire and trounced rivals Montreal Impact, 3-0, at the Stade Saputo on Wednesday.
"It's a spectacular performance by us," said Mariner. "The reason why we won this game is that nobody had a bad game [Wednesday]. And I'm not just talking about the starting 11, I'm talking about the whole group, everyone that came on. ... We changed our system and we were focused on the task at hand. We started understanding the system a little bit more."
Danny Koevermans added the third goal of the match in Montreal, giving the Designated Player six goals in his last six games.
It was a deadly blow, helping the visitors kill the game after they had surrendered stoppage-time goals in their last two contests to settle for draws with the New England Revolution and the Houston Dynamo.
"We were unlucky the last two games, because of the goals we conceded in stoppage time," Koevermans said. "[Wednesday] we were a little bit lucky in the first half, because they pressed in the first 50 minutes, but in the second half we did a great job, we defended perfectly. We were solid in the back and I hope we can keep it going like this."
The Red Bulls are flying high at the moment though, putting an end to their three-game winless run with an entertaining 3-2 win over rival D.C. United at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.
New York's supporting cast played a starring role in that affair as Brandon Barklage bagged a brace and Jan Gunnar Solli notched the game-winner as the duo scored the first goals of their respective MLS careers.
"Brandon has been phenomenal [since] the beginning," Red Bulls manager Hans Backe said. "It looked like a couple of weeks ago he was going to have a dip or something like that. He had a rough game against Chicago, bounced back against Vancouver, and played even in defense very good [Sunday]."
Rafa Marquez made his return to the starting lineup after missing two matches through international duty and injury, while Thierry Henry came off the bench for just his second appearance in New York's last 10 games. Both players should be in line for a more featured role north of the border.