1. Toronto FC
Record: 19-8-5 (65 points)
Form: WWWLLW (Last six games)
With two games left to play in the regular season, Toronto FC have clinched the MLS Supporters’ Shield sitting a whole nine points above next-best New York City FC. Manager Greg Vanney will be able to look back on a successful season as his third season in charge of Toronto is coming to a close.
When the season kicked off, it was expected that Toronto would do well but having finished fifth in last season’s race for the Supporters’ Shield, they weren’t considered standout favourites for the trophy. In initial power rankings, Toronto were widely accepted as a top-five team capable of challenging for the Shield and the MLS Cup. What wasn’t expected was that none of the teams considered to be Toronto’s top competition would have particularly fantastic season.
Earning just seven points in their first six games, Toronto where not performing to the standard that many would expect and the Shield holders FC Dallas had earned twice as many points in their first six and seemed out to make a statement. Toronto soon found good form, earning 28 points over their next eleven games. This set their mid-season record to 10-5-2, with 35 total points.
They would lose their 18th game of the season to FC Dallas 3-1 which would spark them into an eleven-game unbeaten run, earning 27 points and outscoring their opponents 32-8. Montreal Impact would be the ones to come along and end this seemingly-unbeatable run-of-form, serving up Toronto their first and only home loss of the season in a 3-5 goal-fest. This defeat could easily be chalked up to the absence of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, and Victor Vazquez who have been at the forefront of Toronto’s attacking success. Obviously stunned by the defeat by the Impact, Toronto would travel to New England and lose to the Revolution in a 2-1 defeat three days later, with all three goals being scored in the last ten minutes of the game. While Victor Vazquez was present for this defeat, the time that he played before being subbed off was not his best form, and he wasn’t performing like he had the ability to.
Their convincing 4-2 victory over New York Red Bulls Saturday clinched them the shield. With Jozy Altidore back and providing an assist as Justin Morrow stepped up and delivered a hat trick to help win the day. Toronto will be looking to continue winning in their last home game of the regular season against the Impact on October 15th, and then again on their trip to Atlanta to finish off the season. If they can end their season on a high note, then they’ll be in all the better form and spirit to make a run for the MLS Cup.