Toronto Red Bulls
On a gray and gusty Friday morning at BMO Field Andrew Boyens trotted out on to the turf at BMO Field to begin the second half of the reserve game between Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls.
Just as he emerged from the tunnel a handful of TFC fans (hardcore ones; the kind who do crazy stuff like, I dunno, show up the cold morning after a frigid night game to watch the reserves) started heckling him about his jersey.
A brand new, long-sleeve Red Bulls model, number 25. So new it didn't even have his name across the back.
The fans thought it sucked, and they told him so.
But they knew he didn't have much choice about it.
Boyens was the second pick in TFC's inaugural draft last January, but as we discussed a few posts ago, a flurry of April transactions made him expendable. The team left him in Toronto when they traveled to L.A. to play the Galaxy, then released him not long after beating Beckham and them.
He didn't stay on the market long.
Quickly, his agent arranged a week-long audition with the Red Bulls. That week turned into another, and the second week led to a contract.
And all that led him back to BMO Field, where he spent Friday morning trying to keep Jeff Cunningham off the scoresheet.
"It's kind of ironic, really, to be watching the game last night and enjoying the home support," he said. "It's good to see that the team's doing well, and I'm happy to be playing here as well...At the moment it's about adjusting to a new team and trying to play my way into a good situation."
Either way, he says he's grateful for the new gig, and not bitter at all about the way he left Toronto.
"I definitely miss Toronto...but that's the life of a professional footballer. You sometimes have to move around," he said. "Hopefully a missed opportunity here is a new opportunity in New York.
And while the three weeks have taught Boyens that this business can be ruthless, they've taught Tyler Hemming the power of networking.
TFC's signing of Olivier Tebily last Friday started the chain of events that ended with Hemming - a starter in the season opener - out of contract and back home with his parents in London. When they learned Hemming was a free agent the Red Bulls grew interested, but didn't know how to find him.
Enter Boyens, who passed Hemming's contact info to Red Bulls brass. They phoned Hemming Wednesday, and Friday morning he started the reserve game.
But unlike Boyens, Hemming's not sure where he's headed next. He says he's trying to decide between the USL, Europe or another shot at MLS.
As far as the Red Bulls are concerned, though, Hemming says he's just waiting for a call.
Tebily - You can't teach size
This guy is big.
When TFC finally signed him Mo Johnston talked about all things he would bring to TFC's central defence - pedigree, experience, professionalism.
It all sounds good but it's all abstract. I'm a concrete thinker, so I needed to see something solid.
Like the hit Tebily laid on New York's Ricky Schramm Friday. It didn't look to me like Tebily tried to flatten the guy. I just know (with a nod to the Fugees) that two bodies can't occupy the same space at the same time, so when the two men met near a loose ball, it wasn't pretty. Think Smart Car hitting a Hummer.
Tebily's a big, big guy, and you can't teach size.
Later on Tebily and New York's silver-haired striker John Wolyniec met in mid air. That one got ugly, too. Think golf ball versus medicine ball. It ended with Tebily standing tall and Wolyniec lying on his belly, holding his head. Not injured, but clearly hurt.
When he finally rose Teblily walked over to say something, but I don't think Wolyniec even noticed. He was too busy limping and rubbing this throbbing head.
So if you want to know what Tebily contributes, just ask Wolyniec.
As soon as the ringing in his ears stops.
Oh Yeah, the game
2-1 TFC. Goals from Joey Melo and Kevin Harmse. New York goal from Sinisa Ubiparipovic.
Hope that helps.
-- Morgan Campbell