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Johnson helps Toronto earn scoreless draw with Cincinnati in opener

CINCINNATI (AP) — Sean Johnson made seven saves and Toronto FC played FC Cincinnati to a scoreless draw in a season opener on Sunday.

Johnson turned away four shots in the second half to earn the clean sheet for Toronto, which has opened a season on the road in six straight and 16 of its 17 seasons since joining the league. Toronto snapped a four-game losing streak to Cincinnati.

Roman Celentano made one save in each half in his shutout effort for Cincinnati — winners of the Supporters' Shield last season.

It was the first tie in 11 meetings between the two clubs. Cincinnati leads the series 6-4-1 and is 3-0-1 since moving to TQL Stadium. Toronto has never scored at the venue, while Cincinnati had scored multiple goals in its three previous shutout victories.

Cincinnati opened a season at home for the second time. It was the first afternoon match at TQL since April of 2022. Cincinnati beat the Houston Dynamo to begin last season on its way to a league-high 69 points (20-5-9). Toronto finished with a league-low 22 last season, going 4-20-10.

The last time Toronto won an opener on the road was in 2019 — a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union. Toronto improves to 0-1-3 in February openers. The club is 5-9-4 all time to begin a season.

John Herdman has Toronto off to a good start in his first full season as head coach. Herdman left the Canadian national team to take the club's reins with eight matches remaining last season.

Herdman and his squad held reigning league MVP Luciano Acosta in check to earn the point.

Cincinnati travels to play the Chicago Fire on Saturday. Toronto stays on the road to play the New England Revolution on March 3.

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The Associated Press