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By The Numbers: Toronto FC are performing at a historic rate heading into Decision Day

The Supporters’ Shield is still within reach after Alejandro Pozuelo’s record-tying penalty for Toronto FC as The Reds are having one of the best—if not their best—regular seasons ever.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at Toronto FC
Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo (10) is congratulated by midfielder Richie Laryea (22) after scoring against Inter Miami

TORONTO, Canada—For the third straight match, Toronto FC went down a goal, this time at the hands of expansion Inter Miami CF. But unlike the first two occasions that saw TFC drop from Supporters’ Shield favourites to underdogs, the Reds found a path back through an energized attack of Ayo Akinola, Richie Laryea, and Alejandro Pozuelo.

The 2-1 victory puts TFC square with Philadelphia Union, but 14 goals adrift on the tiebreaker. In order to finish atop the league for the second time in club history, Toronto will need a better result than Philadephia on Sunday; if Philly wins, it’s their Shield. A Philly draw, however, would leave the door open for a Toronto victory, and a Philly loss would allow Toronto to lift silver with any point.

As Michael Singh correctly reminds us each match day on Twitter, Toronto FC are still on the mend...

...and that gave a deserved start to homegrown midfielder Ralph Priso, who had his name penciled into the first team Starting XI for the first time in his Reds career.

Priso impressed in his starting debut, being called “the best man in a red shirt” by Steven Caldwell halfway through the first half.

One of the forces that had been missing for Toronto in their mini-dip in form was the power and speed up top belonging to Akinola. Both were on display in his return to action.

The 1-1 strike appeared to be a massive boost for the club—his team-leading ninth of the campaign.

But with a win required to keep them in the Shield conversation, Toronto FC needed a go-ahead goal in the game’s final ten minutes. Cue Laryea’s usual frenetic energy in the box, which drew a foul and a penalty kick.

And up stepped Toronto’s designated penalty taker, Alejandro Pozuelo

It was Pozuelo’s 11th goal in 12 chances from the spot (TSN’s Kristin Jack rightfully noting SIX have been match winners.) Pozuelo has now met Sebastian Giovinco at the top of the list, but squandered far fewer chances getting there.

I also noted last week that Toronto FC have only failed to produce a 10-goal scorer in three seasons (in all competitions), and that 2020 was at risk of becoming the fourth. Last night both Ayo and Poz knocked on the door, and if Toronto FC hope to advance in the playoffs, surely a 10th will come from one (or both) of their boots.

Sunday night was an astounding 11th one-goal victory of the season for Toronto FC.

Toronto FC also lowered their Goals Against per game to a record 1.09 (24 goals in 22 matches). If Toronto FC allow just a single goal at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, they’ll best their 2017 Treble Season record.

A win at RBA would also give them a shout for the Shield, and would lock up their best Points Per Game season in club history, also bettering that 2017 mark.

And finally, Quentin Westberg has kept Toronto in this Shield chase with his heroics in net. He’ll have a chance on Sunday to become only the second TFC keeper to win a dozen regular season matches in a season—joining teammate Alex Bono (again, 2017).