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Recap: Strong Achara debut leads Toronto FC over NYCFC

The Reds kicked off their home field campaign off in winning fashion with a 1-0 victory over NYC FC.

New York City FC v Toronto FC Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Toronto FC started the home portion of their 2020 season with a big win on Saturday evening, beating NYCFC at BMO Field thanks to a late goal.

Their first game in Toronto in 2020, and the first in the new grey kits, Saturday’s match also gave Ifunanyachi Achara, one of Toronto FC’s latest draft picks, his debut. He was in the starting lineup after Tsubasa Endoh failed a late fitness test, and he sure impressed in Endoh’s absence.

Achara thought he gave Toronto FC the lead in just the 11th minute, but after consulting the Video Assistant Referee, referee Ted Unkel called it back for offside.

Moments later, NYCFC had their best chance of the half, but Heber’s effort was stopped by Quentin Westberg. The Brazilian tried to fire a shot across the goal, but Westberg kicked the ball away.

Unkel had another big decision to make later in the half, as Justin Morrow was brought down in the box, and the call on the field was that it wasn’t a penalty. It was borderline, but after checking VAR, adjudged not to be a clear and obvious error, and the call stood.

Other than the goal that was called back, Toronto FC’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes was Alejandro Pozuelo’s curling effort, which came back out off the bottom of the crossbar.

The two sides entered halftime tied at 0-0.

Westberg made another big stop in the 60th minute, keeping the clean sheet intact.

His NYCFC counterpart Sean Johnson also had a great game, making several big saves - none bigger than denying Jozy Altidore from a few yards out in the 68th minute.

Not to be left disappointed by the earlier VAR call, Achara again found the back of the net in the 81st minute, this time giving Toronto FC the 1-0 lead. Johnson couldn’t deflect away Richie Laryea’s hard shot, and Achara jumped at the far post and headed the winning goal home.

Johnson denied Toronto a late goal to double the lead, making an impressive save, but the game ended at 1-0 in favour of The Reds.

It was TFC’s first clean sheet of the season, and keeps them unbeaten two games into the season.

It was also Head Coach Greg Vanney's 100th win at the helm of Toronto FC.

Ifunanyachi Achara made a case to keep starting for The Reds going forward, but that will likely depend on how Endoh, and Jacob Shaffelburg recover from their injuries.

Up next for Toronto FC is a date with expansion side Nashville SC next Saturday once agian at BMO Field.