Toronto FC Goals: Achara 81'
New York City FC will return to the city for Homecoming Week following a narrow 1-0 road defeat to Toronto FC at BMO Field.
In an even, hotly-contested match, both sides had their chances for all three points but it was Ifunanyachi Achara who scored the only goal of the night with nine minutes remaining to inflict a second 1-0 loss on Ronny Deila’s team.
Determined to bounce back from a luckless 10-man defeat on the road on the opening weekend of the MLS, Head Coach Ronny Deila made one enforced change to his lineup, with Keaton Parks coming in for the suspended Maxime Chanot.
Elsewhere, it was the same team that battled to no reward in Ohio, facing off against the team which ended NYCFC’s hopes of MLS Cup glory in 2019.
It took three minutes for Chanot to receive his marching orders last Saturday, but Deila’s men enjoyed a slightly more comfortable start this week, although Alexander Callens did need a lengthy dose of treatment after taking a heavy blow to the ankle on 6’.
The Peruvian was fine to continue through a half which was punctuated by two VAR interventions which both went in City’s favor.
The first arrived on 11’ when Toronto’s Achara poked the ball into the empty net after stealing in on the back post for a goal which was correctly called back for offside.
NYCFC were indebted to the review process again on 27’ when Ted Unkel adjudged that James Sands had not fouled Justin Morrow in the box and waved away the penalty appeals.
Deila’s side fought hard but couldn’t quite get into their normal passing flow against an obdurate TFC, though they did forge a couple of good goalscoring opportunities, with the pick of the chances falling to Parks, who forced a decent save out of Quentin Westberg on 16’, following a neat interchange with Héber.
Goalless at the break, NYC came out for the second period with the bit between their collective teeth and start to string together passes in the final third with more regularity as the momentum swung in the road team’s favor.
Jesus Medina went close to making this pressure tell on the hour mark after more good link-up play from Héber presented the shooting opportunity, but the young Paraguayan was denied by strong palms from Westberg.
Sean Johnson was required at the other end with 20’ on the clock and the big man came up huge on his 101st MLS appearance for NYC, pulling off a reaction save from Jozy Altidore’s header to maintain parity.
Deila made a double substitution on 72, bringing in Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Taty Castellanos for Jesus Medina and Alexandru Mitriță as the Boys in Blue chased all three points but, heartbreakingly, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock with 10’ to go.
There was a stroke of fortune about the winning goal as a low cross deflected off an NYCFC boot and looped over Johnson for Achara to touch in at the back post, consigning City to successive 1-0 road defeats.
Next up, it’s a return to continental competition on Wednesday night when NYCFC host Tigres UANL at Red Bull Arena.
How We Lined Up
New York City FC are back to Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League action on Wednesday night when Tigres are the opponents at Red Bull Arena for the Quarterfinal first leg.
Following that, the 2020 Home Opener vs. FC Dallas presented by Etihad Airways takes place on Saturday, March 14 at Yankee Stadium when NYCFC takes on FC Dallas at 12:30PM ET.