Amarikwa Takes His Chance

Forward scores opening goal after winning a starter's job versus Aguila in CCL on Tuesday.

Photo: Amarikwa heads in the opening goal in a 3-0 win over Aguila (Melendez/CONCACAF)

Head coach Paul Mariner was happy with Quincy Amarikwa’s performance last Saturday night, on an evening with few bright spots losing 4-2 to LA Galaxy.

Amarikwa came on as a second half substitute in an effort to buttress Toronto’s attack led by Ryan Johnson. The audition won him a start on Tuesday in El Salvador and the forward repaid the manager’s faith with the opening goal in a 3-0 win over CD Aguila in the CONCACAF Champions League. Johnson provided the assist, his first of two on the night.

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Video: Amarikwa opens the scoring against Aguila.

That victory sets up a meaningful date with Santos Laguna in Mexico in the CCL group stage finale on October 24. “This win means we have a chance, we have to focus on Santos Laguna,” Amarikwa said in a statement through Toronto FC PR following the match in the capital San Salvador.

The ‘chance’ Amarikwa refers to is Toronto needing to win by three goals or more in Torreon to advance to the quarterfinals in a new CCL format where only the group winner goes through to the next round. “You never know what can happen,” Amarikwa said, “you never want to give up, you always want to give yourself an opportunity.”

Toronto returned home after its third five-hour flight in seven days late Wednesday night. The Reds will depart for New York on Friday for a Saturday match against the Red Bulls. Amarikwa hopes Toronto can use its newfound Salvadoran confidence against the Eastern Conference power to end a 10-game MLS winless streak.

“A win in any situation is good, especially for the morale of the team right now.”

“It’s good to go away on a trip, get a hard-fought three points and take that into the remaining games domestically. Hopefully we can build on this (win) and take it through to the rest of the year.”

Toronto returns home for its last two games at BMO Field this year on October 6 and 20 against D.C. and Montreal respectively. If Eric Hassli continues to be dogged by injury, Amarikwa may be in line to secure his place in the starting lineup for upcoming games.