Rookie MF Osorio continues to turn heads at Toronto FC

The Canadian Press
8/4/2013 9:15:01 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

TORONTO - While Toronto FC has spent the year scouring the globe for talent, its surprise player of the season is a local product acquired before the new management regime took over.

Rookie midfielder Jonathan Osorio, identified as a player to watch early in training camp by first-year manager Ryan Nelsen, has shown an opportune scoring touch in grabbing the spotlight.

Osorio, who turned 21 in June, has started eight games and seen action in 10 more with Nelsen playing him both in centre midfield and on the flank.

"He's one of the absolutely top young talents in this league," said Toronto president and GM Kevin Payne. "I put him at the same level as (Gyasi) Zardes and the other forward (Jose Villarreal) from Los Angeles that everybody's making a big deal about.

"I think Johnny's actually probably got a better all-round game than either one of them."

Nelsen believes Osorio is a legitimate rookie of the year candidate.

"For a guy who you could kind of say is coming out of nowhere in a way, it's been an absolutely fantastic year," said the former New Zealand international. "But what I love about Jon is that he only wants to get better and wants to improve every day."

Thanks in part to Osorio, Toronto snapped a six-game winless streak last weekend with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.

Osorio scored in the 87th minute to pull Toronto into a 1-1 tie that set the stage for Andrew Wiedeman's 94th-minute winner in a torrential downpour at BMO Field.

While he had been shifted to the wing recently, the arrival of Spanish winger Alvaro Rey is likely to return Osorio to the middle.

Osorio's four goals are second only to Robert Earnshaw's six on a team where goals have been hard to come by. Toronto has just 19 in 21 games.

Top strikers Danny Koevermans (calf) and Earnshaw (hamstring) have both been sidelined of late.

Osorio says he's always had "a nose for the (penalty) area."

"I'm one to always attack the box and I think I do it pretty well. So as long as I keep doing that — that's where more than 50 per cent of the goals happen in football."

Osorio's goals have all come late. And would have meant more had it not been for defensive lapses.

Osorio scored in the 78th minute against Los Angeles (the Galaxy replied in stoppage time for a 2-2 tie), in the 66th minute against Philadelphia (the Union scored in stoppage time for a 1-1 tie) and the 83rd minute against New York (the Red Bulls scored in the 89th minute for a 2-1 win).

"It's a great story for our other academy kids," said Payne. "When they see kids actually transition from the academy to the first team and get games and have the opportunities to make impacts, that really helps their confidence. They now believe that 'Wow if I work hard, there really is a pathway.'

"That kid is very talented. Johnny Osorio. He's a tough kid ... He looks like a cool, detached sort of player on the field but he actually has a great deal of emotion within him. He plays with a lot of passion."

Osorio didn't spent much time with the Toronto academy. He signed in September after impressing with SC Toronto in the Canadian Soccer League.

In February, he was at Toronto FC's camp in Florida and was included in Nelsen's his first starting 11, against the Columbus Crew.

"You knew it right there, he had confidence in me to play and to be ready to play at a professional level," Osorio said.

The young Canadian says he is growing in confidence every week.

"I feel really good out there," he said. "I'm always hungry to score goals or assists or help the team in any way."

Said Nelsen: "Nothing fazes him. Not even bad moments in games. He always tries to do things positively. Instead of going into his shell, he tries to keep doing stuff. And I love that because the game and life in general rewards those people."

Osorio took the long road to his home-town club, spending two years at Club Nacional in Montevideo, Uruguay, thanks to his talent and the connections of coach Jorge Amura at the Clarkson Sheridan Soccer Club in suburban Mississauga.

He spent two years there, starting in the under-19 ranks before making his way into the reserves before deciding to return home at the end of 2011.

Jonathan Osorio  (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story

Blue Jays on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 baseball insider Scott MacArthur provides daily coverage of the Blue Jays.

Jays Watch | Latest on the Jays

 | Monday at 7:07pm | Paxton vs. Happ
 | L 5-2 | W: Tanaka | L: Hutchison

Maple Leafs on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the home of the Leafs with Jonas Siegel providing daily coverage in his Leaf Report.

Latest on the Leafs | Leafs on 1050 Schedule

 | Free Agency Tracker
 | DraftCentre

Raptors on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the home of the Raptors with Josh Lewenberg providing coverage in his Raptors Report.

Latest on the Raptors

 | Free Agency Tracker
 | NBA Draft

Argos on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the official broadcaster of the Argos with Mike Hogan providing coverage in his Argos Report.

Argos Hashmarks | Argos on TSN 1050 Schedule

 | Saturday, Oct. 4 at 4pm | (TSN 1050)
 | W 40-23 | Glenn: 291y | Steele: 73y

Toronto FC on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050's Gareth Wheeler provides coverage of TFC matches including pre-game shows live from BMO Field

Latest on TFC | TFC on TSN 1050 Schedule

| Saturday at 1pm | (TSN 1050)
| W 3-0 | Jackson, Moore, Gilberto
TSN TweetBox

Connect with TSN Radio 1050

Email us at

Text your comments to 105050 (standard message rates apply) Details


Text inquiries to 105050 (standard message rates apply) Details

Follow on Twitter: @TSN1050Radio

Call us at 416-870-1050 or Toll Free Across Canada: 855-591-6876

Advertising: Call: 416-384-2900. Or email:

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television