Toronto FC face various questions and uncertainties in respect of their roster preparations for next season, including whether or not Canadian international Jonathan Osorio will remain in Southern Ontario.
No one within the Toronto FC organization is under any illusion about the 2022 season. No matter how you break it down, it was a disappointing one.
In fact, you can go as far as calling this past season a disastrous one. TFC finished with the second-fewest point in MLS, while conceding the third-most goals.
From a historical perspective, the 66 goals allowed also equaled an unwanted franchise record, which was set just a year earlier. Regardless of all this though, there is still hope surrounding the Reds for next season.
This is understandable, when considering factors such as having Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi for the entire season. In addition, Toronto FC have a designated player spot available, which they can use to make a high-profile signing.
Standout performer in 2022
Despite the optimism, this doesn't change the fact there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the roster. One player in particular who is at the center of this uncertainty, is Jonathan Osorio.
In a roster full of inconsistency and under-performing, Osorio was arguably TFC's best and most reliable player. He tied for a team-high nine regular season goals, while leading the way with six assists.
Further, you can make a case that the 2022 campaign was the best of Osorio's 10 years in MLS. (At this point, a lot of fans are probably thinking how quickly the time has flown.)
As things stand, the 30-year-old has the most appearances in Toronto FC history, both in the regular season and overall. Additionally, he is third all-time in the goal-scoring charts.
World Cup influence
Osorio has developed into a complete midfielder; equally skilled in his play-making, attacking and defensive duties. He has also established himself as a Canadian international, with more than 50 caps.
Osorio has showing his ability to respond to the pressures of international football, scoring in a 1-1 draw versus Mexico during a World Cup qualifier. It represented Canada's first goal against Mexico at Estadio Azteca since 1980.
The 2017 MLS Cup champion will be part of a Canadian squad competing this winter in their first World Cup since 1986. This should cause at least some concern for Toronto FC fans.
This is because Osorio is set to become a free agent, with his $1m Targeted Allocation Money contract set to expire. This will open a variety of opportunities for him, whether it be in North America or abroad.
Cards close to the chest
Of course, a good showing by the Toronto native in Qutar at the World Cup will increase the number of clubs interested in signing him. As things stand, he is understandably revealing little.
As per Jonathan Sigal of mlssoccer.com, consider Osorio's comments. He said:
"Should a good opportunity present itself overseas, if it’s the best option, then I will take it. For me, it’s about taking the best option. It’s not about going to Europe because I dreamed about it. Now I think I’m at the point of my career where it has to be the right move for me playing-wise and for my career and for the future of where I stand and the national team and things like that. There’s a lot of factors that will be going into my decision at the end of the year."
From TFC's perspective, they will do everything reasonably possible to re-sign Osorio. As per Sigal, club president Bill Manning said:
"We’re going to do our best to present him an option to continue here and potentially end his career here. But in respect to Oso, all right to him to consider his options. And that’s what coming out of a contract does. We respect that, but we’re going to work real hard to keep Oso here and what we need to do as we put the puzzle together with salary caps and all that.”"
Some may argue Osorio is worthy of a Designated Player contract, but this is unlikely. Instead look for him to receive the maximum offer allowed for a TAM contact, which Waking the Red's Corey Brady writes is due to rise to around $1,651,250m in 2023.
Osorio has more than proved himself, both in MLS and on the international stage. In addition, he has been loyal and is not getting any younger.
As such, if asked to make a prediction at this point, it would be that Osorio will be playing in Europe next season. However, there will be no issue in being proved wrong on this particular occasion.
What is your take on the future of Osorio? Will he back with Toronto FC next season or not, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.