On Sunday at BMO Field, it was remarkably fitting that Jonathan Osorio banged the celebratory drum on the same pitch where he plays club soccer.
But when it came to postgame reflections, the 29-year-old MLS veteran was at a loss for words considering how the program is leading the Concacaf Octagonal stage in style.
“I’m speechless. Dream come true, a dream,” Osorio told OneSoccer’s Kristian Jack. “We all dreamed of this as little kids and as a Canadian that was impossible, that was impossible. And today the impossible happened. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Canada last reached a World Cup in 1986, more often perceived as a regional afterthought than one that’s punching above traditional powerhouses of the US and Mexico.
But with a generation that’s bookended by 39-year-old captain Atiba Hutchinson and young stars like Jonathan David, Alphonso Davies, and Tajon Buchanan, they’re surging into Qatar.
“To do it here in Toronto where a lot of the guys are from, it’s f*inng incredible,” said former TFC defender Richie Laryea, crashing Osorio’s interview with several teammates. “Sorry for my language, but it’s incredible.”
As Canada have risen under head coach John Herdman, their qualification stage began in March 2021 in the first round before they handled Haiti in the second stage.
That guaranteed an Octagonal spot, where Les Rouges took eight of 12 possible points from El Tri and the USMNT. And inspired by performances like that, CF Montréal defender Alistair Johnston is confident they’ll make some noise next fall.
“We’re going there to compete, baby,” Johnston said. “We’re not going there just to show up. We’re gonna go there and we want to turn some heads.”
At this point, who would doubt them?