We’re talking about the Supporters’ Shield, of course, which the Reds could claim if results go their way this weekend. They have an 11-point lead over New York City FC at the top of the table heading into the final month of the regular season.
So, what needs to happen to fill another trophy case at the KIA Training Ground? Here are the scenarios in which Toronto can win the Shield on Saturday - and the ones that will mean they have to wait a little longer.
New York City FC vs Houston Dynamo
NYCFC play earlier, at 3 p.m. ET, so the job could be done before Toronto even kick a ball against the New England Revolution (5 p.m. ET).
If NYCFC win: Toronto cannot win the Shield this weekend regardless of their result against the Revs.
If NYCFC draw: Toronto can win the Shield by beating New England.
If NYCFC lose: Toronto still need a win to officially claim the Shield. If they were to draw, NYCFC (or the Chicago Fire or Atlanta United) would need to win out to overtake them. In Atlanta’s case Toronto could pick up one more point and still be caught, but for the other two they would have to lose their final three matches.
New England Revolution vs Toronto FC
The two basics, then, are:
- Toronto can’t win the Shield this weekend if NYCFC win.
- Toronto win the Shield with a victory in New England if NYCFC fail to win.
If they’re made to wait, what then? Here’s what the outlook looks like going forward if NYCFC win against Houston.
If Toronto win (in New England): Toronto would then need two more points to finish the job. NYCFC would have to remain perfect through their final four games to have any chance of catching up and Chicago and Atlanta would be out of it.
If Toronto draw: Toronto would then need four more points for the Shield. If NYCFC draw or lose any of their remaining games, that goes down to two or one respectively.
If Toronto lose: Add one to all of the numbers in the previous paragraph. TFC would require a maximum of five points to win the Shield.
Hopefully these don’t become relevant.
For reference, though, wins are used to separate teams before goal differential (which is then followed by goals scored) in MLS.
NYCFC, Chicago and Atlanta can all still overtake Toronto on wins as things stand. It doesn’t really change much; if the first tiebreaker was goal differential, a NYCFC win and a Toronto draw this weekend would leave the Reds only needing three points, rather than four, as long as New York did not make up 22 goals in that column in four games.
But that’s... whatever. It’s not going to be a factor.
If you’ve got any questions about potential scenarios, drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.