Matias Laba likely to make his Toronto FC debut in clash with Colorado Rapids
TORONTO – In the aftermath of one of the most dispiriting defeats in the history of Toronto FC, head coach Ryan Nelsen and his squad will be looking to bounce back with a strong performance against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (MLSsoccer.com free Stream of the Week, 9 pm ET).
Given how the Toronto midfield struggled in a very significant manner against the Impact's in the whopping 6-0 Amway Canadian Championship loss on Wednesday, Nelsen is also hoping that his team’s newest Designated Player, midfielder Matías Laba, will be able to make an impact of his own and buoy his new side in the middle of the pitch in his debut.
WATCH: Laba press conference
“Matías has been cleared to play,” Nelsen said following Toronto FC’s training session on Thursday afternoon. “He is a big player. Even though he is a young man he has captained his teams previously. We need a few more of those kinds of guys.”
The 21-year-old former Argentinos Juniors player has now had a full week of training with his new club and he has also used the last several days in Canada to begin getting used to living in a new country, a process that seems to be going fine.
WATCH: Laba's arrival in Toronto
“His immersion is going really well," Nelsen said. "Obviously the club is really fantastic in terms of that. We have all of the support systems and everything that he needs, so I think he is more than happy.”
Toronto FC supporters will now get their own chance to familiarize themselves with a young player who TFC president and GM Kevin Payne has described as one of the club's core pieces for years to come.
The start of the Matías Laba era at Toronto FC is expected to commence this weekend, whether he starts or comes off the bench.
“I think [he is excited to make his debut]," Nelsen said. "He wanted to play [Wednesday night in Montreal] and we had to literally pull his hair back to tell him that he couldn’t play. I’d say that come Saturday he will be frothing at the mouth.”
Steve Bottjer covers Toronto FC for MLSsoccer.com.