Home Global Game CONCACAF Osorio’s sublime goal + Mavinga’s desperation challenge = TFC win over Tigres

Osorio’s sublime goal + Mavinga’s desperation challenge = TFC win over Tigres


Well, the reasons you want your team to play in big-stage events like the CONCACAF Champions League are the thrills and anxiety, right?

Toronto FC fans were sent into the throes of ecstasy when Jonathan Osorio’s cheeky effort looked to have given the Reds a 2-1 home win over Mexican champs, Tigres, in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.

But, there would be another twist in the plot. Two minutes into added time, Tigres striker Eduardo Vargas had a golden chance to get his side a back-breaking second road goal. TFC defender Chris Mavinga made the decision to lunge in; Vargas went down in a heap, and, knowing CONCACAF and its penchant for penalties, we all kinda expected the ball to go the spot, even though Mavinga did get the ball. But, no, the result was a corner, which provided zero danger to TFC keeper Alex Bono. So, TFC indeed held on for the 2-1 result.

Osorio with the wonderful through-the-legs back-heeled effort off a pass from Sebastian Giovinco, then Mavinga with the game-saving lunge. On a pockmarked winter-scored pitch in Toronto, Wednesday night was a time for heroes.

Now, there’s a damn good chance that the teams go to Estadio Universitario — arguably the most impregnable fortress in all of CONCACAF — and Tigres turns things around. We all know they’ll be favoured to do it. But, for a moment, just enjoy the fact that the Reds were able to rally at home after giving up the gut-punch opening goal to Vargas.

The Chilean international, opened the scoring early in the second half after he beat Mavinga down the wing, then slammed a shot inside the far post.

Vargas won round one of the battle vs. Mavinga. But, late in the game, Mavinga won round two.

After Vargas opened the scoring, TFC looked to get new life; Osorio missed a clear-cut chance just minutes before a quick triangle passing sequence allowed Jozy Altidore to get one-on-one with Juninho, the veteran Tigres central defender. Altidore had no problem holding off Juninho and slotting the ball into the goal. But it was all set up because Marky Delgado had the vision to one-touch a pass from Giovinco into Altidore’s path, knowing that the physical TFC forward was in a basketball-like mismatch situation with Juninho.

But, at 1-1, Tigres still held the road-goal advantage — and odds would be loooooonnnng for TFC to come away with the tie after the second leg in Mexico. The Reds needed some kind of advantage. And, after a corner kick was scrambled away, Giovinco got the ball on the left wing, and slid a low pass that Osorio pushed in — through his own legs.

“Seba took it down and I saw that I was alone and knew he was going to put it across,” said Osorio, who hails from Brampton, Ont. (of course you ALL knew I was going to get that in there. You probably thought I was going to get that into the lede. Ha. Too obvious!) “The ball came a bit behind me so I instinctively I put my leg out to backheel it and it went in.”

“It’s a little bit of a Jedi mind trick that I put on him,” said TFC coach Greg Vanney, “which is where I told him to drop a little deeper, not worry about scoring goals, and now he’s in front of the net all the time.”

On a bouncy field that was anything but optimal for sublime football, Osorio found a moment of genius. A few minutes later, Mavinga’s desperation challenge paid off.

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One Comment

  1. Ralph

    March 8, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Two strong showings for Osorio to start the season. Great to see.

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