Jonathan Osorio began his MLS career against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get to get in that game but yeah I always remember that as my first road trip and I’ll remember how the game went,” Osorio said in March. The Reds would lose that game 1-0.
“It just got me so excited for not only the rest of the season but the rest of my career.”
He started this season against the Whitecaps as well, but his personal goals were different this time. This time Osorio started in the 3-1 season opening win. Since then the Brampton product has refused to relinquish his spot in the lineup.
Osorio was given a chance by Greg Vanney to play alongside Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore from the get go this season. He’s taken this chance running and grown into one of the best midfielders our country has to offer. Osorio’s play, to the consternation of many, hasn’t warranted a call to the Canadian National Team since the Gold Cup. His teammates have been vocal about this, clamoring for Oso to get his due.
How @OsoJ92 doesn't get a call up for Canada isn't right. Talented player and a good kid. Sigues asi amigo! Eres un grande!— Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore) October 4, 2015
Osorio was TFC’s man of the match on Saturday, helping the Reds inch closer to their first playoff berth in franchise history.
He’s already surpassed his minutes total from last season with three games to play. Though he’s only recorded one goal this season Osorio ranks third on the team in key passes per game, behind Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco. He’s excelled in tight spaces, providing the Reds with an outlet in the center of the park alongside Altidore.
His game is maturing before our eyes and his head coach has taken notice.
“Last year I thought the off-season was going to be important for him, and he was one of the hardest working guys we had coming into the season,” said Vanney.
“He got stronger, he got fitter and as a result I think his confidence has come along. He wiggles out of pressure and gets us going forward. He’s arguably the best Canadian player in the league, and for that he deserves recognition and I think he’s proven that over the course of the year.”
Osorio’s rise has coincided with Toronto FC’s most exciting season in franchise history.
For Osorio, a major Blue Jays fan, seeing the city abuzz with optimism is a major change from the past. “It is a totally different feeling that is for sure,” he said following Saturday’s win. “At the end of the game when I went to the fans it was a great moment, it was great to see the fans so happy.”
In Osorio, the club’s young Canadians have seen the blueprint. For players like Jay Chapman, Chris Mannella, Manny Aparicio, Quillan Roberts and Jordan Hamilton, Osorio has proven it can be done, that they too can become regular fixtures with the first team.
At 23, Jonathan Osorio’s career is just starting. For that we are lucky.