clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Toronto FC 2013 Top 36 Countdown: Number 4 - Jonathan Osorio

New, 25 comments

The feel good story of the year and TFC's second top scorer, the club's most promising youngster since...well, let's not go there. At number 4, it's Jonathan Osorio.

Jonathan was very happy with his number 4 ranking.
Jonathan was very happy with his number 4 ranking.
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Average Ranking: 3.33
Highest Ranking: 1
Lowest Ranking: 8

Dave: 4. For most Toronto FC fans Jonathan Osorio essentially came out of nowhere in 2013. All the attention heading in to the preseason was on the two Canadians who came to the club through the draft. With focus on Kyle Bekker and Emery Welshman, Osorio was flying under the radar.

When we first found out that Osorio was included on the preseason roster there was not a whole lot to say about him. We knew that he had spent time developing at Nacional in Uruguay, had played with Canada's Under-20 team, had trained with TFC's Academy briefly, and had played in the CSL for SC Toronto. It was an interesting resume but not exactly one that caught the eye and made you believe that he was in camp to do more than just make up the numbers.

By the time that the season started our regular readers probably knew more about Jonathan's younger brother, Anthony, as we wrote about him when he decided to go down to Uruguay and play for Nacional. In doing so he was taking the same route as his older brother. A route that would eventually lead to Jonathan being one of TFC's best players in preseason and signing his first professional deal.

Osorio started in the first preseason game against the Columbus Crew down in Orlando. He looked alright in that match and survived the first round of cuts. He continued to have a solid preseason and was one of the few bright spots on a very poor roster. It was no surprise that he wound up signing for the club on the same day that Hogan Ephraim and Taylor Morgan would signed and Torsten Frings retired.

On the eve of the season we looked at the team's depth and even then Osorio remained barely more than an afterthought as he seemed to be just another last minute signing by a club in desperate need of warm bodies. We were quite wrong though but it took some time to see that.

Osorio was limited early in the season to short appearances. In the first 12 games of the MLS season he was used as a sub 10 times and looked good, though in his one start against FC Dallas, replacing Terry Dunfield alongside Jeremy Hall, he was disappointing, replaced at half time. He picked up his first goal in March against the L.A. Galaxy in his BMO Field debut before adding his second in April against the New York Red Bulls.

Eventually his strong outings as a substitute led to him moving into the starting lineup. The departures of Ephraim and John Bostock opened the door for Osorio to make a place on the wing his own and he did just that. He went on a run of four games where he played the full 90 beginning with the 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on June 1st in which he scored the lone goal.

After that run Osorio played far more games than he missed. He missed only 5 of the remaining matches, primarily due to National Team duty, and only came off before the full 90 on one occasion when he came off after 34 minutes against D.C. United with a knock. He missed two games due to the most controversial moment of his season. His clearance/vicious attempt to injure saw him accidentally/deliberately kick the ball into Kosuke Kimura's face at close range. There was no punishment at the time, but he eventually got a 2 game suspension for that.

In the end, Osorio made 18 starts and 10 substitute appearances during the MLS season. His 1679 minutes this year were 8th on the team, his 5 goals were second, and his shot conversion percentage of 17.9% was the best of any player to attempt more than 20 shots.

Osorio managed to be the best option for the club in two different positions. He made his way into the first team out on the right wing where he replaced Bostock. That seemed to be his best position as he did well in space and was able to cut inside to create chances on a regular basis. He was eventually moved inside after Luis Silva was traded and Matias Laba injured. He was slightly less effective there with less time and space to work with but he was still one of the better players for the club even with that step back in his performances.

Some of the numbers that Osorio put up in 2013 jump off the page. Not only are his five goals a good return for a rookie but he also managed to complete nearly 80% of his 831 passes this season. That is a good rate and had him among the leading midfielders in MLS in terms of passing efficiency. His crossing (18/73) was a weak point of his game but that was the case for most TFC wide players as they had very little to aim for in the box most of the time.

Osorio also gets a passing grade for his efforts on the defensive side of the ball. When he lost possession he was quick to try and win the ball back for his team. When playing on the wing he frequently got back and recovered the ball for his team which was a nice change after watching Bostock in the early stages of the season.

On top of playing well for TFC, Osorio made his way onto the radar of the Canadian National Team in 2013. He made his debut for Canada in May and since then has become a regular for the National Team. He made 8 appearances in 2013 including 4 starts and was one of the few brights spots in some very poor showings by Canada this year.

It was a very good year for Osorio and he was clearly one of the biggest surprises of 2013. Having come out of virtually nowhere to start the year and eventually becoming a fixture for TFC fans will certainly be wondering just where he can go next.

His offseason has been put on hold while he trains in England with Huddersfield Town but when he does finally get to take a break it will be a well deserved one. Hopefully he makes the most of that break and is ready to hit the ground running in 2014. Fans will be hoping that he can continue to improve next season and find minutes even if the club manages to add attacking options. The worst case scenario would be Osorio taking a step back like Silva did but hopefully the 21-year-old only continues to improve as age is certainly on his side.

Duncan: 4 Sam Cronin, Nana Attakora, Joao Plata, Luis Silva, Jonathan Osorio. Every year it seems there's a young kid who breaks into the team and does a lot better than anyone would have thought and this year Osorio joined that list. As detailed above, there were plenty of highlights for Osorio this season as his strong play forced him into the starting lineup for TFC, and also for Canada, though very sadly that was probably the easier achievement this year.

Right from the start he looked like he belonged, comparing him to Kyle Bekker is a fantastic advertisement for spending your late teens/early 20's in a professional club environment with an established development system, versus the NCAA. That poise and sense of calm was best exposed with his goal against New York, when the ball comes to him on the outside of the box, does he quickly blast it back towards goal and see what happens, nope, he patiently works a better option before exquisitely chipping it over a very crowded box and just under the bar. The highlight is titled, 'Osorio chips entire NY team'. it's only slightly hyperbolic. I'm a sucker for a diving header though so I think I prefer his goal against Philadelphia linked above, and the best moment was probably his equaliser, another cool finish, and shirtless rain soaked celebration against Columbus.

It wasn't just the goals, his overall play was very impressive, generally very good decision making as to when to try the ambitious and when to keep it simple, matched with the skill to do either one. He was definitely more noticeable out on the wing than when he was moved back to the DM spot to replace Laba, which is to be expected I suppose. As for his biggest moment in that spot, that was probably the suspension he earned against New York. I'm still of the mind that that wasn't a deliberate attempt to injure him, so for me, that 2 game suspension was the worst result TFC picked up a DisCo since Club Escobar! Ba-dum tish!

It should be interesting to see where he plays next season, whether he's moved back out to the wing or stays in the middle where he could be a very interesting companion to Matias Laba. That will of course depend on just which players are brought in and how ambitious of a formation and system Ryan Nelsen decides to go with. Of course the other option is that he doesn't make the starting lineup or that he struggles a bit, and then what might happen? Surely he won't end up like all the other players listed in my first sentence, will he?

Armen: 3. Who the heck was Johnny Osorio before this season? More importantly, who the heck doesn't know who Osorio is at the end of the season!

James: 1. Often he was the only thing worth watching on the pitch, gave hope to an otherwise wasted season - eager to see how he looks next year.

Kristin: 4. Surprise of the year. What was thought to be yet another sop to the "we need more canadians!" contingent turned out to be a pretty decent addition to the team. Oso easily fit into the first team and unlike Bekker and Welshman didn't look out of place among his more experienced teammates. Showing decent speed, passing and field sense as well as a nose for goal; he's got a good future ahead of him and should really benefit from playing with Laba (and possibly Rey) next season.

a_miller16: Came from out of nowhere to be one of the best players on TFC this year. Second on the team in goals and his partnership in the middle with Laba was the best midfield TFC has had since we had a healthy Frings.

Bruce Harding Fantastic season by a guy no one had heard of before. Key player for next season.

Ferantez Did very well in an area you need a lot of smarts or experience and he fared well against most competition… I would say that he was able to cope with pressure better than Silva could.

Ignirtoq: #breathOfFreshAir #futureDCUnitedPlayer

JD: Shows great promise, but still has a ways to go. Hope we keep him for at least a few more years before we trade him for some allocation money.

Jon Spratt: The season's most pleasant surprise and a rare feel-good story about TFC.

Killinghurst: Our most creative midfielder since De Ro. He is one of the few bright spots from this season.

Mark_HSV:A bright light for the future and scored some great goals. I assume TFC will trade him for allocation money next year just like Luis Silva.

Michaelvee: Surprise, Surprise. Osorio had a few moments of brilliance this year, and a few shocking lapses. I'm not, nor do I think TFC is, really sure where he's best suited but he made the sting of that 1st pick tradeaway more bearable.

Mweezy: Would be higher if I didn't have this growing fear that he'll fall victim to a sophomore slump.

Prizby: A shining bright light that no one expected to shine this year. I don't think Nelsen had any real plans to play him much this year, but once he turned in performance after performance, Nelsen's hand was forced and as he likes to say "the players decide who starts" (in reference to how they practice).

Red Wine Roz: I like this kid a lot.

Robert Snider: To me the best news all year wrt TFC. Will he continue to get better?

Shel soccer Don: Let's pray the TFC environment does not ruin his development.

The Yorkies: The feel-good hit of the year. Local boy done ok. Please don't wreck this one TFC.

Tyler: Osorio has so much heart. That’s more than one can say for most of the team. Luckily, he also has a pretty large bag of talent for being a rookie. I hope he improves and shows even better next year unlike Silva did at the beginning of this season. Also, I think he performed much better on the flank than in the middle. He is much more dangerous out there.

Yohan: Osorio has potential to be a fan favourite and future TFC captain. He plays the game with poise and passion, and he can score some clutch goals to boot. Nelsen thinks he's a CM, but right now, he's more suited to be a wide midfielder because of his game which is more of taking on a defender 1v1, instead of seeing the field for picking out a pass to a teammate. I have a lot of hopes for this young man who wears the shirt with pride. If not for playing on TFC, I think he would have been in consideration for MLS Rookie of the Year. (though likely not win it)

Number 3: Joe Bendik

Number 5: Robert Earnshaw

Full Top 36 Coundown