It’s been awhile since I last donned my 6oaW hat, what with a not so insignificant little tourney we call the World Cup, my first attempt at long-form journalism, duties across the site (and a new appreciation for “GIFs by Mitch” and Charles in Charge and his social media kung-fu), and, last but not least, and full disclosure time: tailoring light-hearted articles around the dumpster-fire that is/was our 2018 season really takes the “F-U-N” out of “FUNeral”.
But here we are, off the back of two home-and-home sweeps. Toronto FC are edging back into something resembling their 2017 selves.
(Un)fortunately, this means I have to hold off on the all in-the-red, these amps go to 11, shoegaze/noise-rock “WTF is wrong with TFC” playlist I created, mostly out of spite. So your eardrums are safe, for now.
One of the brightest lights in an otherwise overcast season has been Brampton’s own, Jonathan Osorio. Last night was further proof.
Plenty of ink has already been spilled about Oso. The man cannot. stop. scoring (14 goals across all competitions — leading the team). He’s playing like fire, with a newfound confidence that has affected every facet of his game. He’s become a complete player. The general consensus is that Oso has been if not the best, at the very least the most consistent, player for TFC in 2018 — often, he’s carried the entire team on his back.
Jonathan Osorio was Man of the Match in #CHIvTOR:— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) July 22, 2018
37/39 (94.9%) passing
2/2 long balls
1 key pass
3/4 duels won
Continuing career year with his 12th goal of the season in all competitions, and tidy passing again. #TFC #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/pUYQouPeF2
It’s also no secret that his contract with the team expires at the end of the season, and he’s getting looks from all over the world. Jonathan Osorio is facing a very big decision in just a few months’ time.
Assuming TFC makes him an offer to extend his stay, and also assuming a fat deal manifests somewhere else, what do we think?
Should Jonathan Osorio make the move?
Presently, Osorio makes $209,083 for Toronto FC, which is near the bottom of the hierarchy, so we can infer that he’s after, and deserving of, a serious raise if he re-negotiates with the team. It would also be a pretty safe guess that any deals with other teams would be worth more than his current contract. Let’s call this a given?
But money isn’t everything. In this case, I feel that money plays second fiddle to exposure and opportunity. By this metric, there is just no benefit to sticking around. Oso needs to strike while the iron is still hot, and that iron is never going to be hotter than it is right now.
New hairstyle, same goal scoring machine #Oscorio— F10 Sports Photography (@f10sports) July 26, 2018
WED, JULY 25, 2018 - Toronto FC midfielder #21 Jonathan Osorio celebrates his goal that puts his side 3-0 up in the 88th minute during Canadian Championship Cup semi-final.#MLS #MLSsoccer #TORvOTT #JonathanOsorio #Goal pic.twitter.com/Wwug1VMTVY
Jonathan Osorio has never played better for the Reds. He has proven himself (finally) to the CMNT, but in no way is his future in both lineups secure. He needs to keep producing. He needs to challenge himself. Nature abhors a vacuum.
While I’d love to sit here and soapbox about the overall quality of MLS, how it’s a league on the ascendancy, etc. etc. — it’s not one of the big boy leagues, yet. MLS 3.0 has doubled down on developing players and selling them to bigger clubs, the recent sales of Ballou Tabla and Alphonso Davies are an obvious example.
A very unique confluence of factors have created this situation; it’s almost a perfect storm. I think Oso would be very foolish to look a gift-horse in the mouth.
Of course, this would mean moving on from TFC. I’ll hate to see him go, but it’s not insane to think that TFC would be just fine with Oso returning after a few years abroad to finish out his playing days here (local boy makes good and all). I wouldn’t be surprised with another “Cheyrou Special” that would see him move over to coaching following his retirement.
It could be very good for TFC’s bragging rights in global football, ditto for Canada Soccer. Oso could blossom to an elite-level talent. Or the whole enterprise may crash and burn. Without risk there is no reward.
My hot take: If you take all the emotion out of this equation, it’s a win-win. But that is an extra helping of “easier said than done.”
So, what do we think? Should Oso follow his head and explore his options, or follow his heart and stay with the team he loves, and the supporters that love him equally?
This has been a subject of much passionate debate across the boards in recent weeks, so methinks it will be nice to devote a thread to it wholesale ... on to the comments, where the magic happens!
Special note: if you haven’t yet tuned into WTR Staffer/GifMaster extraordinaire Mitchell Tierney’s weekly #FootyTalksTV webcast, you’re missing out on 20 minutes of in-depth and personable soccer tawk.
THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST:
...is the most fun I’ve had with a group of TFC fan/muso-snob friends in ages. It all started at BMO during the Ottawa game. We discovered the clever (?) play on the Beatles tune that satisfied the Track/Playlist title gag. It was all uphill (?) from there. Thing turned into a whole playlist of cute Oso associations.