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Ayo Akinola scores as Toronto FC cruises into Canadian Championship final


TORONTO — Toronto FC is 180 minutes away from booking a return to the Concacaf Champions League. Ayo Akinola scored his first goal for the Reds’ senior side and Jordan Hamilton and Jonathan Osorio added two more to secure a 3-0 win over the Ottawa Fury in the second leg of their Canadian Championship semifinal at BMO Field. The tie ended 4-0 on aggregate.

TFC will face either the Montreal Impact or the Vancouver Whitecaps — who play later Wednesday night at BC Place, with the Impact 1-0 up on aggregate — for the Voyageurs Cup. Toronto has won the trophy in each of the past two years and a record six times in total.

Despite the victory and clean sheet recorded in Ottawa last week, TFC coach Greg Vanney decided against fielding a less experienced lineup and selected Jozy Altidore, Chris Mavinga and Justin Morrow. Akinola was the youngest player in the XI and he was bright from the off, putting just too much on a through ball that threatened to set Marky Delgado free on goal.

The U.S. youth international came close off a Morrow cross before opening the scoring. Toronto midfielder Liam Fraser, who turned in a man-of-the-match performance in midfield, floated a beautiful ball towards the back post that Ryan Telfer diverted back across the goal. Fury defender Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé hooked Telfer’s effort off the line but Akinola was on hand to smash in the loose ball from close range.

“I thought it was a great achievement,” Akinola said of getting off the mark for TFC. “A proud moment for myself, for my friends and family. I hope there’s many more to come.”

Only one team really looked like scoring from there but the hosts needed the help of their three substitutes — all of whom were Canadian — to extend the lead. Hamilton had passed up a good chance off of Delgado’s setup before he converted fellow sub Ashtone Morgan’s low cross from the left with ease.

Osorio powered a shot in to make it 3-0 at the south end of BMO Field, which was noticeably quieter than usual. Toronto’s supporters’ groups are housed in that stand and three remain without normal privileges — such as permission to bring drums and banners and let off smoke — after an incident in the away section during the first leg.

Attendance among those groups was sporadic as a result.

“I don’t know what the resolution looks like on the other side,” Vanney said. “But hopefully it can get resolved in a proper manner and the fans who really want to support the team in a positive way, and in a way that also is safe for everybody around them, should be at the games and making as much noise as possible in the proper ways. Our fans are an important reason of why we do this, so it just feels a little bit off when not everyone is there that we’re used to seeing.”




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