April 24th, 2024

Toronto FC’s growing injury list impacts Canada with a hip injury sidelining Osorio

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on March 17, 2024.

Canada midfielder Jonathan Osorio (21) moves the ball against United States forward Jesús Ferreira (9) during a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal soccer match, Sunday, July 9, 2023, in Cincinnati. A hip injury has prevented Toronto FC captain Osorio from joining Canada for a key Copa America qualifying playoff next Saturday against Trinidad and Tobago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Conroy

A hip injury has prevented Toronto FC captain Jonathan Osorio from joining Canada for a key Copa America qualifying playoff next Saturday against Trinidad and Tobago.

The veteran midfielder has been replaced by FC Dallas midfielder Liam Fraser.

Osorio’s loss is a blow for interim coach Mauro Biello. With 71 caps, the 31-year-old Osorio was the most senior player – and the only one over 30 — on the Canada roster, as well as a candidate to captain the side.

Citing the need for a “cultural reset” within the national team, Biello summoned a young 23-man roster featuring 10 players with fewer than 10 caps.

CF Montreal midfielder Samuel Piette is the senior man on the roster now, with 67 caps while forward Cyle Larin has 65.

The 26-year-old Fraser has 19 caps, last appearing for Canada off the bench in a 2-2 draw with the U.S. at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July in Cincinnati.

The hip injury kept Osorio from travelling to New York for Toronto’s 2-1 loss Saturday at NYCFC.

“He twisted his ankle on the Thursday and then just got a little flare-up in the hip again,” Toronto coach John Herdman said after the game. “So just one thing tends to lead to another.”

Osorio was tested Friday “and it just didn’t feel right,” he added.

“For Oso, (it was) really precautionary. He just wasn’t good to go,” Herdman said. “A big loss for us in that sense.”

The 50th-ranked Canadian men take on No. 96 Trinidad at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The winner slots in Group A along with top-ranked Argentina, No. 33 Peru and No. 42 Chile at the 16-team Copa America which kicks off June 20 across 14 cities in the U.S.

Osorio is just one of a growing number of ailing Toronto players.

Defender Raul Petretta (groin) was another late addition to an injured list that already included goalkeeper Sean Johnson (hamstring), defenders Richie Laryea (hamstring) and Nicksoen Gomis (wrist) and midfielder Brandon Servania (knee).

Servania is not expected back until the summer as he recovers from knee surgery. Gomis, after coming back from a concussion, went under the knife last week after it was discovered he had injured the scaphoid bone falling on his wrist in last week’s home opener against Charlotte.

“It’s a really tricky bone in the wrist,” said Herdman. “So you have to get that one right. Normally you would just cast that up and put him out but it’s a really tricky bone.”

Gomis is expected to be sidelined for four weeks.

Petretta was sidelined after a hip flare-up led to a tear in the adductor, Herdman said.

He is expected to be “about two to three weeks away, four weeks maybe at max.” Laryea, who has missed three games, is likely several weeks away.

Johnson, who has missed TFC’s last two outings, is expected to return soon. But backup Luka Gavran has been impressive in his absence.

“So again, we adapt and manage and it’s got to be next man up,” said Herdman. “So the players that come in, they have got an opportunity and they have got to take them.”

Toronto (2-1-1) hosts Atlanta United (1-1-0 going into Sundays game against visiting Orlando) next Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2024

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