Saturday, November 28, 2020

Calgary’s Tesho Akindele prepares for MLS Cup run with Orlando City

Calgary's Tesho Akindele prepares for MLS Cup run with Orlando City

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Indeed, Akindele was just two years old when the family picked up and moved to Mississauga and then to Winnipeg and finally out of Canada to Thornton, Colo., where mom and dad still call home and he became a promising young soccer star with the Colorado Mines Orediggers.

Now 28, he’s a fixture in the MLS, but he thinks fondly on his home country, for which he’s played one game with the under-17 national squad and has 17 caps with the senior side.

“I go back when I can, for sure,” Akindele said. “I still do make it back to Canada for games, and I do have family there that can come out and support me.

“Soccer’s been able to really give me that opportunity to see the world,” Akindele continued. “Especially playing for the Canadian national team, I’ve been able to go to so many countries, in Central America and Europe and all over Canada. So that opportunity has been good for me as a player and as a person. I’ve seen so many places in the world that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

The next place he’ll see is Exploria Stadium on Saturday in Orlando (10 a.m., TSN), where Akindele and the OCSC Lions (11-4-8) get set to open the MLS post-season against visiting New York City FC (12-8-3).

They’re hoping it yields the first of four straight wins en route to the coveted league championship.

“We feel confident, especially in the first game, being at home and playing in front of fans, too,” said Akindele, whose Lions are 1-0-1 against NYCFC in 2020. “Hopefully, we win that game and momentum can carry us from there. We really believe in ourselves, whether we play at home or away. We’re four games away from winning it all.”

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