TORONTO, Canada—It appears Toronto FC’s Ifunanyachi Achara will indeed be sidelined to start the 2021 season.
Achara, 23, underwent successful season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his left knee on July 9. He suffered the injury in training, as the team prepared for the MLS is Back Tournament. On one of the last plays of the day in a scrimmage at BMO Field, Achara would get hurt attacking a ball at the far post, unfortunately tangling legs with defender Omar Gonzalez.
“It was nothing more than a soccer play, but it was really unfortunate and obviously Achara comes out on the wrong side of all of this,” former TFC coach Greg Vanney told reporters on a media call at the time. “It’s disappointing for everybody.”
The hope had been that by the time the 2021 season rolled around, Achara would be ready to return, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Speaking to The Toronto Sun last week, head coach Chris Armas confirmed that Achara will certainly not be available for the Canadian Championship Final, which is expected to take place mid-to-late March. Armas further went on to reveal that Achara would be out “a few more months,” recovering from his injury. The 2021 MLS season kicks off on April 17.
DEBUT✔️— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) March 8, 2020
What a first MLS game for Achara! #TFCLive
He joined @KristianJack following @TorontoFC's win over @NYCFC @WhitecapsFC visit @LAGalaxy in Game 2 of our MLS double header - 7pm PT / 10pm ET on TSN1/4 pic.twitter.com/QfojMhZbuc
In his one and only appearance last season, Achara introduced himself to the faithful at BMO Field in spectacular fashion, scoring the only two goals—one was called back because of offsides—in the TFC’s 1-0 win over New York City FC on March 7, the last time the club played in front of fans in the stadium along the Lakeshore.
Here’s to hoping Achara can pick right up where he left off whenever he does return.
With both Achara and Ayo Akinola injured to start the year, Toronto FC may have to rely heavily on designated player Jozy Altidore to provide their scoring touch. Other options to occupy the No. 9 role will include Patrick Mullins, rookie Jordan Perruzza, and Erickson Gallardo.
So have your say: how much will TFC miss Achara to begin the 2021 season?