Toronto FC started out their busiest stretch of the season thus far on the right foot with a 2-0 win on Saturday afternoon away to Orlando City SC.
Jonathan Osorio opened the scoring in the 65th minute, shifting through a pair of defenders before picking out the far corner of the goal and Jay Chapman added the second in the 77th, taking down a long-ball from Alejandro Pozuelo before rifling a low shot through Orlando's Brian Rowe from a tight angle.
On the heels of a disappointing result against the Portland Timbers last weekend at BMO Field, Greg Vanney was “happy” with the response from his team, especially on the defensive side as TFC picked up their second clean-sheet of the MLS season.
“You can’t come to Orlando in this temperature and humidity and be disconnected or you’re going to be in big trouble,” said Vanney post-match. “So, I 'm pleased that we cleaned up some of the stuff from last week to this week: we took care of the ball better.”
“They’re a good team with weapons that can really hurt you and because we're able to keep them chasing, we kept a lot of those guys pretty quiet for the night. [Quentin Westberg] still had to come with a couple of good saves, handled some balls and crosses, but I’m pleased,” continued Vanney. “Pleased with our guys, they gave a huge effort in pretty tough conditions, so I’m really, really proud.”
After a hard-fought first half that saw both keepers tested, Osorio found the breakthrough when Michael Bradley found him in space on the left. Osorio twisted up a pair of defenders before picking out the far-corner of goal with a curling effort for his third goal of the season – all of which have come in the last five matches – and second in as many games.
“I got the ball in space, so I tried to take it with a little bit of speed, took on [Lamine] Sane, waited to see what he was going to give me,” detailed Osorio. “He dove in, gave me the left side, I went [there]. I had space, but I saw Ruan catching up, so I faked as if I was going to shoot, to cut back into my right foot. At that point it's something you practice in training, curl it to the back-post, and it came through.”
Osorio admitted it was one of the nicer strikes of his career: “It's up there for sure.”
“I don't know where to rank it,” continued the midfielder. “I'm just glad I could help the team. It helped us get ahead; I wish I could have stayed until the end, the guys who came in did a great job, did a great job for us.”
His coach hailed it as a “fantastic individual effort.”
“He was aggressive,” continued Vanney. “He's shifty, was able to unbalance Sane, get to the inside and unbalance the next defender enough to get a look at the back-post and get the shot off. It's something that he is good at, showed it a lot last year with 17 goals in all competitions, and today he was able to get that one.”
“We created a lot of good chances in the second half, [Orlando keeper] Brian was able to make some good saves,” added Vanney. “There are a couple of finishes I wish we had one or two back, pleased with the overall performance.”
With the match scoreless and in the balance, Westberg said Osorio's strike “changed the dynamic.”
“He scored at moment where we were starting to doubt a little bit,” continued the keeper, who picked up his first win for TFC with the clean-sheet. “We had a couple of chances, were starting to be dangerous, but at 0-0 you felt the game could go both ways. It's great when one of the guys pulls out something special to make a difference.”
Chapman, who came on for Nick DeLeon on the hour-mark, sealed the result with the second in short order, bringing down the Pozuelo ball with a lovely touch that set up his right-footed smash for his second goal of the young season.
“I was just trying to get on and put the game away,” said Chapman. “Obviously, Oso scored a great goal and I was able to get on the end of a great ball from Pozuelo. It was a really big performance from [Jonathan] and the whole team, it was a huge result.”
As the first game of a stretch that sees the side play five matches in 15 days, a solid win on the road, in adverse conditions, was the perfect way to get started.
Osorio felt the wrath of the first hot game of the season, especially once the sun came out in the second half, and was forced off in the 76th minute.
“The heat got the best of me,” said Osorio. “I felt like at that point I couldn't help the team, better to go down, let someone else come in defend the lead.”
He was replaced by Eriq Zavaleta, who joined Chris Mavinga and Laurent Ciman on the back-line to preserve the result.
And to rebound from the disappointing outing against Portland last weekend only added to good vibes emanating from the locker room post-match, as the side braces for this gauntlet of matches which continues midweek away to Atlanta United FC.
“It's huge, obviously we go right to Atlanta for another really tough game,” said Chapman. “It's a tough away stretch, so to come out here, a tough place to play like Orlando, get a shut out, which is something we’ve been really trying to do this year, was massive for our confidence and to bounce back from a performance none of us were happy with last week.”
“It’s a really big result,” added Chapman. “Going forward on this away trip and giving us a benchmark on how to perform for the rest of the year.”
Losses happen, it's the response that matters.
“You're going to lose games,” explained Vanney. “It's the nature of the league. It's important to not let one turn into two; being able to answer a loss with a win is important. We were able to do so.
“This is a tough stretch,” reiterated Vanney. “The guys emptied their tanks.”
“It's important to recover between now and Wednesday,” added Vanney. “To get started with a win is important because they're not going to get any easier.”