TORONTO — While English veterans hogged most of the attention during the initial weeks of Toronto FC’s 2013 campaign, a local product added a dash of Canadian flavor to the proceedings during TFC’s 2-2 draw with the MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon.
In his third appearance of the season, 20-year-old rookie midfielder Jonathan Osorio scored his first MLS goal and came close to sealing a victory on a day that was especially notable due to the return to action of Galaxy forward Landon Donovan following his self-imposed winter hiatus.
Even though Osorio was unhappy that the Reds were unable to collect all three points against the Galaxy following a stoppage-time goal by Jose Villarreal, the TFC Academy graduate was nonetheless ecstatic to score for the first time in front of TFC supporters at BMO Field.
“I feel very happy for the goal," Osorio told MLSsoccer.com following Saturday's match. "The first one is always the hardest. I had to get it out of the way. I think I am more disappointed about the end result. I think we could have won the game and unfortunately we came out with a tie. We can still look at a lot of positives. It was the defending champs. We played them well and unfortunately we were a couple of minutes away from a win.
“It is amazing [to score at BMO Field] and it gives me goose bumps. Just last year I was a fan. It was amazing that I could give something back to the fans. That moment is one of the best of my life. Those supporters have been there since day one, so to get a goal for them is amazing."
The Toronto native impressed head coach Ryan Nelsen during the preseason, when he showed enough to earn a professional contract and join fellow academy graduates Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry and Quillan Roberts with TFC’s senior team.
Hot on the heels of his first MLS goal, Osorio is fully confident that he knows what he needs to do in order to earn more opportunities.
“Just keep working hard in practice and to treat every practice like it is a game," said Osorio. "Play 100 percent and give it my all every time. Even just doing the little extra stuff before and after practice in order to get better for the team. If I keep doing those things, hopefully I will get more minutes.”
While the desire to earn more minutes is a motivational factor, it does not match the appreciation he has for the TFC fans and that is what is driving him as he tries to continue to establish himself with the club.
“I know what it is to be a Torontonian, and I know that the people here have so much heart," said Osorio. "They back the team no matter what, so to work for them is really easy. I don’t need anything to motivate me. They motivate me enough.”