Ayo Akinola misses Toronto FC round of 16 game as 17-year-old Jayden Nelson starts


Ayo Akinola took the MLS is Back tournament by storm, but did not play for Toronto FC on Sunday night against New York City FC.The 20-year-old forward missed the game with a hamstring injury, initially reported by TSN’s Kristian Jack.

Akinola is currently tied for top of the Golden Boot presented by the Audi rankings with LAFC’s Diego Rossi, both sitting on five goals. Akinola took the opportunity to start with Jozy Altidore back in shape.

With Alejandro Pozuelo starting off as a false No.9, Jayden Nelson, 17, took his place on the wing. Nelson left the game in the 57th minute with the TFC down 2-0.

For more on the teenager, you can read this screening report provided by James Grossi of MLSsoccer.com in January below.

Player type: Versatile striker, cunning dribbler.

Vanney’s words: “Game change potential, he’s a special athlete, has a change of pace that’s unique, is light on his feet, can change direction, can beat people on dribbling. He has an interesting advantage for him; he works hard. “

“It is one of our children who is [at the BMO Training Ground] the second he has a chance and will be here for as much of the day as he can. He loves to play the game and absorbs information. The next step for him is to make the right decisions at the time. He was able to make the difference as a young player, [but] he will not be able to do it immediately as a professional. So it’s [finding] his connection with his teammates and [looking] for moments to make a difference. It has a unique advantage.

Context: Another Bramptonian, Nelson was a semi-regular for TFC II last season. At the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship with Canada, he scored five goals. Nelson earned a spot with the full national team this month, making his debut against Barbados and scoring days later in a second meeting with the island nation. He was also recently named 2019 Canadian International Player of the Year.

Expected impact: Ready to fight Toronto’s growing stock of wide forwards for minutes in Vanney’s 4-3-3 lineup, though more likely off the bench – at least initially.


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