Toronto FC has had a couple weeks to think about a three-match losing streak, and it has taken the time away from the MLS schedule to make some personnel changes. Whether those moves can help overcome central midfielder Michael Bradley's departure for U.S. national team camp remains to be seen.
The club has welcomed two new faces to the mix via trades and now will try to find the win column in league play for the first time in six weeks Saturday at home against the New York Red Bulls, who have gone 10 matches without a loss to Toronto.
On Friday, Toronto (3-4-0) further geared up for the absence of Bradley during next month's World Cup by acquiring central midfielder Collen Warner from Montreal in exchange for midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran and allocation money.
U.S. camp began Wednesday at Stanford, and though Bradley was initially reported to be joining Jurgen Klinsmann's team after Saturday's match, the club's official website reported the Reds will be without their midfield general against the Red Bulls.
"We felt the need to acquire an experienced MLS central midfielder like Collen Warner was necessary as we approach the break, coupled with the loss of Michael to the U.S. national team," general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said. "Collen provides a different look in the midfield for us and to be successful in this league you need to be multidimensional."
Just over a week earlier, the club acquired forward Luke Moore from Colorado for defender Gale Agbossoumonde. Toronto is Moore's third stop of the season after beginning the year with Chivas USA.
The Reds haven't played an MLS game since falling 2-1 to New England on May 3 for their third straight defeat, though they are coming off a two-leg series victory over Vancouver in the Canadian Championship semifinals.
The Red Bulls (3-3-5), meanwhile, are likely still trying to wrap their heads around last Saturday's bizarre 5-4 home loss to Chicago.
New York led 2-1 at halftime but got pummeled after the interval as the Fire opened a 5-2 lead in the 64th minute. Momentum then shifted to the Red Bulls as Bradley Wright-Phillips scored in the 67th and 78th minutes to complete a hat trick.
"It's tough for me to be critical of my team, because every year you've got to allow yourself for a game like this, maybe two," coach Mike Petke said.
Wright-Phillips leads the league with nine goals.
"I've had a bit of luck in front of goal," Wright-Phillips said. "Maybe, soon, there may be a time when I can't score. You just want to enjoy it while it's happening."
Knowing he and Thierry Henry will remain with the club during the World Cup could at least mentally help ease the departure of Australia midfielder Tim Cahill and Costa Rica defender Roy Miller. Both have been released by the club to join their respective countries.
Toronto should have goalkeeper Julio Cesar for at least one more match. Cesar has been selected to represent host Brazil but has said he'll be available though May 23 in Kansas City.
The Reds won't have to get by without striker Jermain Defoe, who said his exclusion from England's side was the lowest point of his career. Defoe is on England's seven-man standby list.
Defoe figures to feature against the Red Bulls, who are 7-0-3 against Toronto since Oct. 24, 2009. In three 2013 meetings, New York went 2-0-1 with a pair of goals from Cahill and one from Henry.
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