Five goals in two matches?  Is this the same Toronto FC team?

TFC won a game on Wednesday night, and against a competent opponent as well. Perhaps it’s the fact that coach-in-waiting John Herdman was in attendance. Perhaps the Union players indulged in Tiny Tom Doughnuts too early in the night before the lineup became too long. Either way, it’s a win!

Caretaker manager Terry Dunfield fielded a strong starting XI, which had not been possible through a disproportionate number of injuries to the squad.

It’s been a while since Jonathan Osorio has registered a goal for Toronto FC. Before Wednesday’s match, Oso had only one goal in the 2023 MLS season against Inter Miami on 18 March.

Here’s his second goal of the season:

The Build-Up

Toronto had been dangerous all match. By the 60th minute, they were winning 2-1 and the confidence was flowing through the team. In the build-up to the goal, there was a 15-pass sequence that involved nine of the 10 outfield players (Deandre Kerr didn’t get a chance to touch the ball):

The Goal

Kobe Franklin, what a ball! He drops a dime right to the sprinting Osorio who runs between two Union defenders.

What Went Right

The final score could have been 5-1 (or 5-2, if you want to consider the Union hitting the crossbar). Kerr hit the post and Federico Bernardeschi rolled a ball inches wide of the net.

Most importantly, Terry loved it!

Philadelphia are not an easy team to play against in 2023. The Union had only conceded 27 goals in 24 matches heading into Wednesday night, so putting three goals past Andre Blake is quite the accomplishment. It was a complete team effort.

While it was a goal that involved most of the team, Franklin’s ball to Osorio was sublime. It needed to be absolutely perfect to find Osorio’s head, so full credit goes to Franklin and his vision to pick out Osorio’s run and to put the ball in a spot where Osorio headed the ball past Blake.

Osorio is flanked by two defenders, Jakob Glesnes and Olivier Mbaizo. All they can do is watch the ball sail past them and into the net.

What Needs to Happen Next

Lorenzo Insigne and Bernardeschi looked like the Designated Players who came into the league last summer and scored loads of goals. What was the difference on Wednesday? The Italians had a competent supporting cast of players around them to progress the ball away from the press and into an attacking area. Using all 11 players effectively is how this team can be successful. 

Wednesday was certainly a pleasant surprise, as many predicted a disastrous outcome against a quality Union side. Jeff Nesker’s latest Good, Bad, and Ugly speaks of the “False Dawn” and reverting back to the median of this woeful TFC season.  

To paraphrase one of the classics, Trainspotting: “All I’m trying to do is help you understand that Wednesday’s match against Philadelphia is potentially a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory of a season.”

Toronto is off for two weeks and welcomes the Vancouver Whitecaps and Richie Laryea to BMO Field on 16 September. Expect some fireworks, as per Richmond’s modus operandi.  

Also, no more dabbing on the haters, Lorenzo. Even the kids thought it was a bit cringe: