The first half was largely unlucky for the home side. Achara looked to get an 11th-minute goal but was ruled offside on the play, the first of a few missed opportunities to get on the board. Later on, Justin Morrow looked to have possibly earned a PK that referee Ted Unkel considered, but ultimately decided not to award, before Alejandro Pozuelo struck woodwork toward the end of the half.
In a repeat of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinal, won by Toronto, the second half held more frustration for both teams. NYCFC looked in command on the ball for stretches, but couldn't generate many chances, with the exception of a 60th-minute Jesus Medina chance that tested Quentin Westberg. Toronto had excellent chances throughout including a Jozy Altidore header on a Pozuelo free kick in the 68th minute that Sean Johnson parried away; Altidore sent the rebound over the bar.
But in the 81st minute, a pass into the NYCFC box took a wicked carom off defender Ronald Matarrita, looping over to the far post. Achara ran to meet the ball and headed it unchecked just before it appeared set to cross the line.
Despite several more chances, including another several near misses by Altidore, the game ended with the sides separated by the slimmest of margins.
Armchair Analyst: Pozuelo's masterclass
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- 81' – TOR – Achara | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Is it panic time in the Bronx? It shouldn't be, as NYCFC went a man down in its tough opening day loss to an improved Crew SC squad, and lost on an unlucky late goal in Toronto. However, it's now zero points from their opening two matches of the season with a Wednesday Champions League match against Tigres not exactly providing a soothing balm for the burn they're feeling. TFC, meanwhile, have four points from their first two matches and they have a week to get ready for a home match against expansion team Nashville.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The TFC goal that was coming looked like it would be Altidore's but, after Achara had a goal ruled out earlier, it was quite the moment to see the SuperDraft pick make good on his debut.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though it was ultimately in a losing effort, Sean Johnson made eight saves, with the only goal he gave up destined for own-goal classification if not for a rookie's hustle.
- TOR: Saturday, March 14 vs. Nashville SC (4 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, TSN4 in Canada)
- NYC: Wednesday, March 11 vs. Tigres UANL (Concacaf Champions League) (8 pm ET | FS2, TUDN)