Who were the best young-player performers in MLS Weeks 12 & 13?
The 2022 MLS season is rounding out its third month of existence, and with the June international break looming but not quite here yet, the reality of the grind has really hit home.
HOW ACQUIRED: Signed as a Homegrown Player on Dec. 18, 2017.
A US youth international who can play either as a central forward or on the flanks, threatens opposing defenses with his pace and technical ability. Akinola established himself as one of the top up-and-coming young forwards in MLS in 2020, starting with a breakout showing at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando that saw him explode for five goals, making him the second-highest goal-scorer at the tournament behind LAFC's Diego Rossi. Three of those came with his first-career hat trick, which he tallied against CF Montréal to become the third-youngest player in MLS history to manage the feat.
OUTSIDE MLS: Akinola featured for Toronto FC II in the USL, making his professional debut on June 15, 2016 at the age of 16. He made 10 appearances and scored two goals for TFCII in the 2016 USL season. Akinola also spent an extended period on trial with PSV Eindhoven of the Dutch Eredivisie.
INTERNATIONAL: Akinola got his first senior cap and goal for the US men's national team in a friendly against El Salvador in December, and also accepted an invitation to Canada's January camp before withdrawing due to injury. The appearance for the US didn't cap-tie Akinola, as it was a friendly. Akinola has been a regular in the US youth national team setup and featured in five games for the Baby Yanks as they made a run to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. He scored one goal and added an assist for the US in their campaign.
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