Nigeria born Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola is expected to miss the rest of the 2021 MLS season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
Akinola, 21, was making his first-ever start for Team Canada on Sunday when he injured his right knee during a 1-0 CONCACAF Gold Cup loss to the United States in Kansas City, Kan.
Akinola has three goals in 11 games (eight starts) this season for Toronto.
The TFC Academy product has posted 13 goals and two assists in 38 games (21 starts) since making his MLS debut in 2018.
Toronto FC announced Tuesday that Akinola would return to the team in the coming days for further evaluation by the club’s medical staff.]]
Akinola who originally eligible to play internationally for the United States, Canada, and Nigeria, due to birth, residency, and heritage, respectively, chose to settle for Canada only recently.
Both the Canadian Soccer Association and the Nigeria Football Federation had reached out to Akinola regarding his future at the senior international level. In 2018, Akinola commented “No time to rush. But at some point, I’m going to have to make a decision which one is the best fit for me.”
He accepted an invitation to Canada training camp held in january this year but was forced to withdraw for health reasons.
He then accepted an invitation to join the Canadian team for training prior to their World Cup qualifying matches on May 29, 2021.He was named to Canada’s 60-man preliminary squad for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup on June 18, 2021. The Canadian Soccer Association confirmed on June 30 that he had filed his one-time switch to represent Canada internationally, and was named to the final 23-man squad for the Gold Cup on July 1
He made his first appearance for Canada at the tournament in their second group game against Haiti on July 15. In the third match against the United States, Akinola suffered a anterior cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament and the rest of his club season with Toronto FC.