TORONTO - Tom Anselmi likes what he sees of the new-look Toronto FC, especially the attitude shown by manager Ryan Nelsen.
The COO of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment hasn't had much to be happy about in the six previous seasons of the MLS club other than a fervent fan base— which has started to fracture after repeated failures.
"I think we've finally got the leadership right, and I say that with all respect to those who have came before," Anselmi said Wednesday after an MLSE Foundations news conference announcing a $1-million charity donation to Right To Play.
"But it takes a certain level of experience and a certain type of person to work in this league. And it's a different league. In guys like Kevin (president Kevin Payne) and Ryan, they know the game over here, they know what it takes top succeed and hopefully we're going to see that.
"Early signs are great. That win against Kansas City was one of my more favourite memories in the last six years. And hopefully we see it continue starting this weekend."
TFC defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at the Rogers Centre between away losses in Vancouver and Montreal.
Toronto hosts the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy (2-0-1) on Saturday at BMO Field.
Despite the two defeats, Toronto's revamped roster showed promise and Nelsen is doing his bit to change the culture at what has been the league's doormat.
Nelsen, a former New Zealand international defender, is the franchise's eighth coach in seven years.
"We've got work to do yet obviously. You don't build Rome in a day," said Anselmi. "But I love Ryan's comments (Tuesday) that we're indebted to our fans. And we are.
"We have the greatest fans in this league. Our fans have changed this league. ... So we owe them a great team. But hopefully it's going to start happening soon. So far so good."
Anselmi is also bullish on the Maple Leafs, who stand sixth in the Eastern Conference.
"I love the direction the Leafs are heading," he said.