Osorio poised for playoffs

Jonathan Osorio vs. Philadelphia

Jonathan Osorio has played in 30 games for Toronto FC this season. Only defensive pillars Justin Morrow (31) and Drew Moor (32) have featured more for the Reds than the Brampton kid. Except the kid is now 24 years old and in his fourth year with the TFC first team.

Osorio believes the disappointment of last year’s knockout round, his first taste of the MLS postseason, will stand he and his teammates in good stead ahead of the historic home playoff game against Philadelphia on Wednesday (Kickoff 7:30 p.m.)

“Last season was a good experience for those who hadn’t been there and for me it was my first playoff game,” said the attacking midfielder. “The mentality stays the same but the execution has to be better.”

Osorio scored his second goal of the league campaign on Sunday as TFC closed out their record-breaking regular season with a 3-2 home victory over Chicago Fire. A trademark jinking run and finish to secure the win was enough to make the MLS plays of the week reel.

“I’m happy that I got the goal in the last game,” said Osorio after Tuesday’s training session. “It definitely helps and hopefully I can use that to put in a good performance going into this game.”

The former TFC Academy trainee admitted that Wednesday’s game at BMO Field will be unlike any he’s played before.

“The intensity rises in the playoffs,” said Osorio, who recently earned his 14th and 15th caps for the Canadian national team in friendlies against Mauritania and Morocco. “You have to take it up a notch if you don’t you get left behind.”

Toronto head coach Greg Vanney echoed the sentiments of the player he has utilized most often at the top of his diamond 4-4-2 formation this year.

“Expect a little bit of the unexpected,” said Vanney from the KIA Training Ground Tuesday. “At the start there’s a lot of emotion. You want to make sure you play with the right kind of caution but with the right kind of intensity to try to put the other team on the back foot.”

Whether the team is deployed in the favoured diamond or the 3-5-2 that worked so successfully against Chicago, Osorio and co. are ready to go and focused on final preparations.

“We’ve spent the whole year working on tactics and those kind of things so now it’s just physically, mentally getting prepared,” said Vanney. “The guys are very excited to get going, you could feel it in the mood today.”