Toronto FC may have filled a massive void on Wednesday when it announced 25-year-old Swiss left back Jonas Elmer as its newest addition.
The Reds, who continue to flounder at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, are in the midst of a midseason makeover that’s seen them ship out massive pieces in Darren O’Dea and Luis Silva in an effort to restructure a side that’s once again poised to miss the MLS post-season.
“We believe Jonas will be an important part of our club,” TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne said. “While he’s still young, he has solid European experience and we’re pleased to welcome him to Toronto.”
A player not so amused by the move will be Toronto-born Canadian international Ashtone Morgan, a player head coach Ryan Nelsen has used at left back off-and-on through the first half of the season with mixed results.
Now, though, there’s a good chance Morgan will become excess to requirement, meaning the former top prospect could either be loaned out or rot away with TFC’s reserves.
Not including O’Dea’s stunning run through the Montreal defence this month, the Reds have been without an attacking left back for quite some time — something Elmer said he’s looking to change.
“I’m a defender first of all, but I really like to go forward,” Elmer said. “I have always in my mind not to concede goals, It’s my first job. But I really like to attack and give crosses.
“Now and again you see the videos. It’s very fascinating what’s happening over here.
“I watched some highlights when Toronto got in contact. To me, it seems fantastic. I’m looking forward to playing at (BMO Field).”
The Reds have been lacking service from wide positions all season. Mid-season replacement Ryan Richter struggled game-after-game in place of first-team fullback Richard Eckersley through the first half of the season while Morgan’s been hesitant to get forward following early-season defensive gaffes.
If Elmer lives up to billing, the Reds could by close to finalizing their defence heading into the second half the season, allowing Payne and Nelsen to focus on bringing in a more important piece.
Moving forward, the Reds look solid enough at the back.
With Matias Laba as the club’s holding midfielder, Toronto’s front office must now turn its attention to bringing in a player with flair — someone capable of consistently carving out a final pass and retaining possession in the final third.
With Danny Koevermans potentially on the way out and Robert Earnshaw’s 2014 status still up in the air, TFC must then add multiple attacking options that offer more up front than Justin Braun and the soon-to-be-departed Jeremy Brockie, who’s set to end his loan spell at the club.
Toronto FC travels to Boston on Sunday for an Eastern Conference tilt against the New England Revolution. A win could bring the Reds to within 10 points of the final playoff spot in the East, making things slightly more exciting for the time being.