Toronto FC will lean on Swiss defender Jonas Elmer vs. Portland Timbers

TORONTO — With midfielder Matias Laba out of action due to injury and four other players unavailable due to international duty with the Canadian national team, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen’s squad is going to be an undermanned one when it faces off against the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday (11 pm ET, MLS Live).

One player who looks certain to be part of Nelsen’s starting against the Timbers, however, is Swiss left back Jonas Elmer, who signed with Toronto at the beginning of August but has not yet made a league appearance for the club.

“The coach told me a couple of days ago and I am really excited to get my first start here,” said the 25-year-old Zurich native. “I’m really looking forward to the game in Portland. When I arrived here, I came here with a little injury which caused me some issues for three weeks. But for the last 10 days I have felt really good. I’m 100 percent fit and ready for the game on Saturday.”

Elmer will step into the lineup in place of Canadian international Ashtone Morgan (who is away with the Canucks in Spain), and he expects his game to translate quite seamlessly to the North American top flight.

“I really like the MLS game,” Elmer said. “It is very physical and maybe that isn’t my biggest strength. However, all the players like to go forward and attack and that is what I like as well. I am a defender first, but I like really exciting games where everyone wants to go forward and enjoy the football. I think that is what the fans enjoy as well.”

“I have gotten used to the system the team plays,” Elmer added. “As I said, I had a little injury, but it gave me some time to adapt and see how everything works here. Now I am very confident that I will have a good game in Portland.”