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TFC's Amarikwa makes the most of late-season chance

Quincy Amarikwa, Toronto FC

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TORONTO – Injuries have created opportunities with Toronto FC, and Quincy Amarikwa is making the best of his.

And he hopes a slight hamstring injury will not prevent him from continuing to make a good impression Saturday against D.C. United at BMO Field (1 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in US).

“We held him out of training a little bit,” head coach Paul Mariner said after training Wednesday at Downsview Park. “He’s got slight hamstring soreness, but I’m told he’s going to be OK, and we need him to be okay.”

Amarikwa picked up the injury in last Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

“I finished the game out but I felt my hamstring a little bit toward the end of the first half and spent the last couple of days doing some rehab,” the 24-year-old forward said on Wednesday. “It feels much better than it did during the game so if that’s an indicator I should be able to fight through it if I’m still feeling it a little bit come Saturday.”

With a season-ending knee injury to striker Danny Koevermans and with his replacement Eric Hassli still doubtful for Saturday with an ankle injury picked up last month, there have been plenty of chances recently for players like Amarikwa.

He had a goal and an assist on Sept. 25 in the 3-0 victory over CD Águila in a CONCACAF Champions League group match in El Salvador.

“Quincy has done fantastically well,” Mariner said. “He’s a very young player. He already loves this club. He wears his heart on his sleeve. His work ethic is exemplary. He gets around the field well. He’s a constant threat to defenders. I’m not saying he’s got a lot to learn a lot but he has certain things he’s got to learn.”

The Reds picked up Amarikwa for a conditional draft pick on July 21 from the Red Bull,s who had claimed him on waivers from the Colorado Rapids.

“I’m very pleased with the opportunity I’ve been given, not only to come here, but also to get some solid minutes to show what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “I hope that what I’m doing is setting me up in a good position to remain here.”

In Mariner, a former England international, he has a coach who also played forward during his career.

“He’s the first coach that I’ve had who was actually a forward while playing,” Amarikwa said. “I think there’s kind of a mutual understanding of what it’s like to play at this level and the expectations that are put on you as goal scorers. I think that’s a good thing that’s going.”