Achara vs. NYCFC - 2020-03-07
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Who is Ifunanyachi Achara? Nigerian SuperDraft pick scores for Toronto FC in MLS debut

If you didn't know the name Achara before Toronto FC's 1-0 win over NYCFC in Week 2, you have a better idea of it now — though his first name's still tricky. 

The Nigerian-born player, whose first name is Ifunanyachi though he goes by Achara, made his MLS debut in Week 2 and appeared to have scored his first goal in the 11th minute on a play that was eventually ruled offside. But he ultimately made it a debut to remember, scoring the 81st-minute game-winner by running onto a deflected pass and heading it in from the closest of range. It was a play that exhibited great hustle and awareness. 

"I was happy, excited to just get out there," Achara said after the match. "Soccer is awesome, I just love playing it. It gives me confidence."

The 22-year-old forward and winger, who captained Georgetown University to an NCAA championship in 2019, was picked 25th in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by TFC and signed to a contract just a week before the 2020 season kicked off.

“It means everything,” Achara said of his signing in an article on the TFC site by MLSSoccer.com contributor James Grossi. “I've been working all my life for this, so having made the team it's amazing. I was drafted and it was awesome, but then coming in, knowing I'm part of the team, that's incredible. I'm so excited.”

Achara made his debut because of a knee injury suffered by Tsubasa Endoh the day before the match. 

"What I have to say is tonight he was fantastic," Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney said. "He has been fantastic since the day he arrived in preseason in LA. From the day he arrived he showed that he fits in, that he’s talented, that he’s a smart player. That he can adapt within the game. He can read plays. He can play on the move.

"As we saw tonight, he has soft feet even when he is playing on the run and he’s got a nose for the goal. He scored twice tonight, really. He has scored in just about every preseason game leading up to the season. He is a wide player that can do all the things we need him to do. He had quite a night...He came to the US when he was 15 years old from Nigeria. You can tell he is a man, and he understands what life is about and he shows that on the field."

In 2019, Achara started 11 matches and played 15 in total for the Hoyas, scoring six goals and adding five assists.

In the Dec. 17 College Cup final against Virginia, Achara started and played 25 impactful minutes before getting injured and subbing out of the match. Georgetown would go on to win in a penalty-kick shootout after a 3-3 tie.