The first win isn’t the start, but it is a start. 

Toronto FC hit that milestone on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 win over D.C. United at BMO Field. 

That both goals were scored by players expected to be key cogs for the club was just as vital: Alejandro Pozuelo responded in the first half after D.C. had taken the lead and Jonathan Osorio netted the game-winner after the restart. 

For Osorio, it was the 50th of his TFC career, scored in front of the raucous fans at the south end of his home stadium. 

“I wouldn't have wanted it any other way,” he smiled post-match. “It's where I scored my first-ever goal and to score 50 there is amazing.”

“More so for what it meant in this game, to give us the lead, I was just happy to get that because we needed to win today,” Osorio continued. “It's been amazing. I'll keep saying it, I’ll always say it, I love this club, I always do my best year, and now I want to keep going.”

“It took me 10 years to get 50, but hopefully I’ve got another 10 years in me to get another 50 and get to 100. Great to do it in front of my family and of course the fans,” he added. “The fans have been very supportive of me since I've gotten here. So I love them. I feel the love from them. Yeah, happy to score in front of them.”

Osorio was instrumental in the build-up, recovering a loose ball before playing forward to Jayden Nelson. Nelson squared to Pozuelo who then laid an inviting ball down the left-side of the box for Luca Petrasso to cross and cross he did, allowing Osorio to slide in at the back-post for the finish.

“Once we got the ball out, once I saw Luca making the overlap, I saw the play developing and, actually a little bit similar to my first goal this season, I saw the space in the back-post,” Osorio recounted. “So just hoping and making a hard sprint there and getting into that space before the defender and hoping Luca would put the ball in that area.”

“He put a perfect ball and then it’s just about getting good contact and putting it on net,” he continued. “It was a good team goal and for what it meant in the game, giving us the lead and the momentum.”

Homegrown, a local lad done good, Bob Bradley knows he has a gem in Osorio.

“I don't know what quarters he doesn't get respect. People who know football, who know the league have tremendous respect for him,” said the TFC coach, asked if Osorio is still unappreciated. “People in Canada who also see what he brings to the national team have a lot of respect for him.”

“He's a smart player, he has real ability to get into the box – it's four games, two times now he's arrived in really important ways and scored two goals with excellent finishes. In other moments in the game, he realizes that if Michael [Bradley] has got to move and cover things laterally left and right, then sometimes he's got to be ready to come back and position himself deeper. He understands the game,” highlighted Bradley. “He’s, on the ball with people around him, comfortable, able to get out of tight spaces and make a very good pass. The combination of all those qualities and what they mean to teams and the fact that you can, in different moments, challenge him with different responsibilities and he's smart enough to be able to take those things on, that speaks to everything that he's about as a player.”

It is that football IQ and his energy that have earned him the respect.

“He’s a good friend of mine, a guy to push every day in training, in the game. He’s a big example for the young guys,” said Pozuelo. “It’s amazing to have him in the team because he brings a lot of energy. You see the goal, the goal is like a character, intensity goal. It's amazing to play with him.”

If that was a goal born of energy, Pozuelo’s was crafted in the laboratory.

TFC were looking to exploit that near-post space on set-pieces, the first two attempts at flick-ons were denied, but when Petrasso whipped a ball in and the captain got the touch, Pozuelo was there to sweep it over the line.

“We were training these set-pieces,” he confirmed post-match. “Try to move, try to find the right spot, I’m free in this moment. Mike touched the ball and I need to be right there. An easy goal, but I need to be there in this moment.”

Having struggled for fitness in 2021, with a goal and two assists through four matches Pozuelo is looking more like the player who took the league by storm in 2019 and won the Landon Donovan MVP Award in 2020.

“I always say, from the first day to come here in preseason, I feel good,” he repeated. “I trained in Spain with my personal trainer. I put myself to this year. It's important to me, the last year of my contract here, so I need to show the people that I can play here.”

“I said to [Bill Manning], the [TFC] President, before I left Spain, ‘I want to show you last year wasn’t normal for me. I'm focused, I’m 100%, physically I’m very good,’” Pozuelo shared. “Last year I struggled, but I'm coming with power, with good mentality, to do my best this year.”