Here are the ten things we learned from Week 30 of the 2017 MLS season.
1. Toronto Clinches The Shield
In a coronation months in the making, Toronto FC won its and Canada’s first Supporters’ Shield on Saturday night at BMO Field with a resounding 4-2 win over the suddenly-reeling New York Red Bulls.
With 32 games in the books, Toronto has amassed 65 points and lost just five games – two of which came last week with both Jozy Altidore and Giovinco sidelined.
Getting Altidore back certainly helped on Saturday night, as the U.S. striker won the decisive penalty and had a hand in three of TFC’s four goals.
Altidore has had a huge season – easily his best since rejoining MLS three years ago – but the fact that it was Justin Morrow, a wingback, who had a hat-trick in this Shield-clincher sums up TFC’s regular season rather well.
Toronto has slugged all comers from all angles this season. Home and away, with and without their top players, TFC has hardly missed a beat. MLS has had few more deserving regular season champions.
2. Seattle Continues To Flounder
With Sporting Kansas City and Portland both losing on Saturday, the Seattle Sounders went into their Sunday game at Philadelphia with a golden opportunity to jump ahead of the chasing pack for a top-two spot in the Western Conference.
It didn’t happen. Against a Union team with virtually nothing to play for, the Sounders were familiarly listless. They didn’t get a single shot off in the first half, went behind 1-0, and lost by two.
Injuries – Roman Torres, Ozzie Alonso, Christian Roldan, and Victor Rodriguez all missed this game – didn’t help the Sounders’ cause, but the lack of offensive punch isn’t a new concern. Seattle, shutout three of their last four games, has scored multiple goals in just one of their last seven.
The Sounders end the season with two very winnable home games, but time is running short to get the attack in.
3. Last-Gasp Equalizer for Real Salt Lake
The most dramatic moment of the weekend came late on Saturday night in Carson, when Real Salt Lake’s old battle-axe Kyle Beckerman equalized for the ten-men Claret & Cobalt with the last kick of the game.