And now we’re down to third.
A week ago, the Supporters’ Shield was a realistic target for Toronto FC. They regularly topped various MLS power rankings a few weeks ahead of the playoffs.
Seven days and three games later, that seems a long time ago. By picking up two points during that span, the Reds have, at least, sealed a first playoff match at BMO Field as one of the Eastern Conference’s top-four teams.
It is increasingly looking like that will be a knockout-round game, however, rather than a conference semi-final. And all of a sudden, the fourth-place Montreal Impact are just five points back after back-to-back wins, with Toronto set to visit Stade Saputo when club football resumes in a fortnight’s time.
Montreal is not quite sure of a playoff place yet, so that match was already a big one for them. For Toronto, there is now a bit of added incentive - and pressure - too.
The Impact secured a vital victory over Orlando City on Sunday, eliminating their opponents from playoff contention while taking a huge step towards sealing their own place. Dominic Oduro scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
FT: A @Freakyfast8 goal the difference as @impactmontreal top @OrlandoCitySC to get a big three points. #ORLvMTL https://t.co/bZWWUbU1lE— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 2, 2016
On Friday night, New York City FC temporarily took top spot in the Eastern Conference by seeing off the Houston Dynamo, with David Villa grabbing two goals for the second match in a row.
Make that 20 goals on the season for @Guaje7Villa. What a player. #HOUvNYC https://t.co/FLaOXh7DHp— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 1, 2016
That finish, @Guaje7Villa. #HOUvNYC https://t.co/0Uj4oeT9H2— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 1, 2016
Twenty-four hours later, however, the New York Red Bulls were back in first place courtesy of a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored one to keep himself level with Villa in the Golden Boot race and Dax McCarty, getting up to full speed after his injury, had a hand in all three NYRB goals.
In the West, FC Dallas kept up their push for the Supporters’ Shield by shutting out the L.A. Galaxy - the conference’s top scorers - to win 1-0 courtesy of a Walker Zimmerman goal from a corner.
HT: You're gonna want to mark him. @thewalkerzim heads @FCDallas up 1-0. #DALvLA https://t.co/oyrICaiwu1— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 2, 2016
With two games in hand and five points to make up, however, the Colorado Rapids still have a chance of reeling them in. They stayed in touch and dented the Portland Timbers’ playoff hopes by also winning by a single goal.
.@MARLYG94 out here makin' things happen. @SebastienLeToux makes no mistake. #COLvPOR https://t.co/PM6cnLRnV2— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 2, 2016