TFC 4, IMPACT 3: Ayo Akinola records his first career hat-trick. Summary and quotes.



TFC – Richie Laryea 8’ (Alejandro Pozuelo)

MTL – Romell Quioto 14’ (Emanuel Maciel)

TFC – Ayo Akinola 25’ (Alejandro Pozuelo, Pablo Piatti)

MTL – Saphir Taider 37’ PK

TFC – Ayo Akinola 37’ (Alejandro Pozuelo)

TFC – Ayo Akinola 83’ (Nick DeLeon, Quentin Westberg)

MTL – Saphir Raider 90’ + 5’ PK


MTL – Emanuel Maciel 6’ (caution)


Toronto FC1016514
New England Revolution1001013
D.C. United0012201
Montreal Impact02035-20


  • Alejandro Pozuelo recorded three assists tonight, marking the first time in his MLS career he’s recorded three assists in a match
  • Pablo Piatti recorded his first assist for Toronto FC tonight
  • Ayo Akinola recorded his first career hat-trick for Toronto FC tonight
  • Ayo Akinola becomes the first player in MLS play to record a hat-trick in the 401 Derby (Toronto FC vs. Montreal) – courtesy of Opta
  • Ayo Akinola becomes the first player to record a hat-trick in the MLS is Back Tournament


TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea (Jacob Shaffelburg 85’), Michael Bradley (C), Mark Delgado (Liam Fraser 66’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Pablo Piatti (Nick DeLeon 66’), Tsubasa Endoh (Laurent Ciman 59’), Ayo Akinola (Griffin Dorsey 86’)

Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Eriq Zavaleta, Noble Okello, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Jayden Nelson, Erickson Gallardo, Patrick Mullins

MONTREAL – Clement Diop; Luis Binks (Rod Fanni HT’), Jukka Raitala (C), Jorge Corrales; Wanyama, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider, Emanuel Maciel (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 73’), Shamit Shome (Zachary Brault-Guillard HT’); Romell Quioto (Orji Okwonkwo 79’), Maximiliano Urruti (Bojan 68’)

Substitutes Not Used: Evan Bush, Jonathan Sirois, Karifa Yao, Amar Sejdic, Lassi Lappalainen, Clement Bayiha, Mathieu Choiniere


Were you surprised by the fast pace to start the game?

I wasn’t surprised because I know our guys were really excited to play. It was going pretty quick and I think both teams were trying to feel each other out in terms of how they were going to defend things and it started getting open fast. I think that the fast start also led to us realizing this game, with only two days’ rest, as the game progressed, was also (going to require) a bit of management. It was the first 90 minutes for a lot of our guys, so we were managing, we were a little tired, our legs were a little bit heavy, and it took a lot of heart to get the result tonight.

Is Ayo living up to the expectations you had for him?

For Ayo over the last few years, with the U.S. teams at the international level he’s been playing on the wing. I’ve always viewed him as a striker. In his head, he’s always been trying to come to grips with just who he is the professional level, what he’s going to be most successful at as a professional. For us it’s always center striker who plays between the centre-backs or off of the one centre-back tonight because they played in a back three. He uses his power and his speed and his aggressiveness in front of goal. Because he has soft feet, he can hold things up. But he’ just so powerful and fast and I always envisioned him as this guy, the guy he is showing now.

I think over the last little bit, the last year and a half or two years, he’s been getting his head wrapped around that this is who he is. He’s gotten himself fit, he’s worked incredibly hard in the preseason and he just looks like he loves playing soccer and all of that is coming out in his performances. And yeah, he’s got an experienced guy like Pozuelo who is guiding him through the course the game, helping him with some information, but also a guy who can provide you with really good chances. I think Ayo, on a team like ours is always going to get opportunities, and he’s putting them away. And that’s one thing he can do. A guy like Ayo is always going to get his chances, and the question is putting them in the net.  For sure he is now.

How does this rank as far as Derby matches with Montreal?

The guys’ legs are tired, and my voice is tired for sure that’s a fair assessment. For sure it was a Montreal – Toronto game. Both teams were going for it. I think it’s one of the earlier times we’ve ever played Toronto-Montreal in a season. You had both teams trying to get their legs under them, get their fitness, their sharpness. All those things are still in play, so there were some mistakes out there. It wasn’t as clean as probably either of us would want in the grand scheme of things.  But, the heart and determination, the fight in the battle… these games always have. The only thing that was missing was the crowd that would be pushing the guys on in the excitement that they bring, and we miss them but the game itself a lot of the stuff that we’re used to seeing in these matches.

What about Pablo Piatti?

Pablo is clever, he’s shifty, he can play in between lines you saw a lot over the last two games what he’s capable of doing. He’s getting more and more comfortable with our system and his teammates and the relationships on the field and the different movements that we’re looking for, and timing and things like that. You can tell he’s a smart player who can create. He can make things happen. He’s also a technical player. So, his ability to set things up is always going to be a nice piece for us. Again, that’s where a guy like Ayo can benefit. We have a lot of guys who can set up opportunities. And I think as things go, my hope Is that Pablo will continue to find chances for himself to score. Or we can get him in good spots. He’s always threatening to get behind the back line we just haven’t really connected with him yet. But for sure he’s fitting in to our group nicely. He’s a wonderful person and that is another way he’s fitting in to our team. He and Poz and Auro and those guys are continuing to develop a relationship and off the field that we are benefiting from.

You seemed far more loud. What that an approach that was planned?

For one, you hear me more because there’s nobody else to listen to in the crowd. The other part, look, the guys were tired guys were just trying to gut through the game they were trying get in the right spots. Fatigue, in terms of we weren’t that great in moving together in our block, we were getting separated and so guys were so tired at certain times I didn’t think communication was happening all that much because. They were conserving and trying to get through the game. I felt it was just my ability to try to provide some voice out there for them. I wouldn’t be so loud and would normally let them handle it, but it felt like the guys were just trying to grind through it. I was trying to give some direction and spur them on and just try to help them out. That was tonight.  It was definitely not a plan. It’s looking at the moment and trying to fill in where I can help just want to feel like from the sidelines, I can help today it was with my voice


Are you liking what you’re seeing through two games in this tournament?

Very much so. Obviously, we talked at the beginning about understanding given all the different circumstances, that nothing was going to be easy or perfect. It’s been four months since the team last played a game. We’ve only been in training a few weeks, no real friendly matches. We were forced to jump right into it. We talked a lot about this idea that in the beginning we were going to need to use our mentality and rely on the ideas that have been ingrained into the team the last few years. And look, it’s not been perfect. There’s still a lot that needs to improve, but four points from the first two games is still a good start. We want to finish the group off with another win against New England. These points count in the regular season so it’s important to still finish in a really strong way. And we want to qualify for The Knockout round and take it one game at a time and be a team that is giving ourselves a real chance to lift the trophy at the end.

Three assists from Pozuelo. Have you seen something different from him in terms of his energy?

He loves to play.  His mentality, especially in this period of coming off the quarantine lockdown when we were forced to stay at home, and we were all without football for a while. I think he’s totally reinvigorated, and he loves to play, he loves to train, he loves to find little spots on the field. His eye for windows, for final passes, is excellent. I think the relationship he’s developed in a short period of time with Pablo Piatti, with Ayo, with Auro on the right side. I think there’s a lot of good things. So, look it’s no secret that we continue to rely on his ability to set things up in the final third of the field, in a big way.

Where does this rank in 401 Derby Lore?

It’s another chapter, that’s for sure. Someone asked me before the game what i hoped for the fans on a night like this. For me the answer was simple.  Obviously if it were possible, we’d have had every single one of our fans watching us live. given that they weren’t able to, we wanted to step on the field and play in a way that they’d be proud of, in a way that that wherever they’re watching, whether it’s in their living room, or whether it’s in the backyard, or at some outside patio, socially distant, whatever, we wanted to give our fans that feeling of winning a big game against your rival. We understand what the game means to them, it means the same to us, especially the group of us who’ve been here a while. It’s a special night, it’s a big three points, it’s a bizarre night, given the circumstances, the lack of crowd, the score line, everything. but it’s still Toronto-Montreal and that speaks for itself.


How does it feel to get a hat-trick and describe the third goal?

Pretty happy to get a hat-trick.  But I know it’s not over.  This game is in the past and I’m ready to think about the next one. On the third goal, I was initially going to go to the far post, but he had that covered. And as I was running, I saw the keeper going down so low that I knew if I chipped it he wouldn’t react to it.

What is it about this tournament that’s brought out your best? A lot of players are struggling with the conditions, but you’re not.

I’m kind of used to it. A few years back I used to live down here, being a part of the residency program for the United States. I was already used to the weather it was not a big deal for me.


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