If Canada is going to win its first Concacaf Gold Cup since 2000, it will have to do so with a significantly depleted squad.
Canada's 1–0 defeat to the U.S. men's national team on Sunday was more costly than just finishing second in the group, with forward Ayo Akinola tearing his ACL and forward Cyle Larin also suffering a leg injury that rules both attacking stars out for the rest of the competition. The injury to Akinola, who had just chosen Canada over the U.S. for his international allegiance, also "likely" ends his 2021 MLS season, according to Toronto FC, and also potentially rules him out for the entirety of World Cup qualifying, which runs from September 2021 to March 2022.
Canada had already lost Bayern Munich star fullback Alphonso Davies to an ankle injury suffered in training prior to the Gold Cup and didn't call on the services of Lille forward Jonathan David for the duration of the competition. If Canada is to go on a run in the knockout stage, it'll do so without some of the top players in its pool.
Larin was Canada's leading scorer at the Gold Cup, with his three goals in the group stage tying him with Honduras's Romell Quioto for the most in the competition so far. He came off hurt in the 53rd minute vs. the U.S., replaced by Lucas Cavallini. Akinola had been hurt a half an hour earlier (in game time), coming off in the 24th for Jonathan Osorio.
Concacaf announced Monday that teams have the ability to replace players ahead of the knockout stage in the event of illness or serious injury. Canada will have up to 24 hours before its quarterfinal match vs. either Costa Rica or Jamaica to call in reinforcements, who have to come from the provisional roster. If Canada advances to the semifinals, a date vs. Mexico could loom due to its bracket placement as a result of its group finish. Mexico, the reigning champion, will also be using the injury provision after losing Hirving Lozano to a nasty collision in the opening match vs. Trinidad & Tobago. Inter Miami's Rodolfo Pizarro will replace him.
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