TORONTO, Canada—Following Sunday evening’s 1-0 win over Atlanta United, Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley was asked for his thoughts on The Supporters’ Shield Foundation’s decision not to award a Shield to this year’s winners, and like head coach Greg Vanney, the TFC captain’s comments were very candid.
“It seems ridiculous and there’s no sugar coating that,” said Bradley. “It seems crazy that three weeks from the end of the season that all of a sudden you can decide that one of the three trophies that teams are fighting for throughout a season is no longer in play.”
Bradley, who was making his return to game action following a nine-match layoff, continued by calling into question how this would effect the growth of Major League Soccer.
“You have a large group of players, coaches, executives ... who are pouring their hearts and souls into this league and trying to grow the league and trying to improve the league and trying to every year take it a little further,” said Bradley. “And when you have a decision like that that gets made three weeks before the end of the season, it comes across in a really, really bad way.”
The American played 70 minutes in The Reds’ win over Atlanta on Sunday, coming on as a first-half substitute for Jonathan Osorio who was forced to leave the match with what Greg Vanney described as a hip/quad issue. Despite a lack of game action leading up to his earlier-than-expected entrance, the Toronto FC captain was able to see out the match and help the Reds extend their lead atop the
Supporters’ Shield race MLS standings to six points and unbeaten run to nine games.
“... We’re not going let anything throw us off. We’re not going to let anything faze us. We’re going to continue to play, compete, and enjoy that part every single week,” added Bradley. “We’ve talked a lot this year about the idea that with everything going on in the world right now ... that you could find something to complain about—something to slow you down every single day if you really wanted—and for all of the important things going on in our world right now, when we have our chance to step on the field ... we’re going to enjoy every single second of that and there isn’t anybody who’s going to take it away from us.”
Bradley’s comments come after Vanney elegantly described the decision not to award the Shield with just five games remaining as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘childish.’
Following the game Sunday evening, the TFC coach doubled-down on his previous take, citing that if his side does go on to win the league, they’ll make sure they’re lifting some sort of silverware.
#TFCLive Vanney on the Supporters' Shield decision: "If we win this thing, we're going to lift a trophy. I told the guys that we're going to get a manhole cover and spray paint that thing and lift it..."— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) October 19, 2020
As it stands, Toronto FC are six points clear of the Philadelphia Union (who have played one less match than The Reds). Ironically, TFC’s next game comes in five days against the Union on Oct. 24, and shield or no shield, that match should be a dandy as it’ll have significant ramifications on how the rest of this 2020 season shapes up.