MLS Week 27: What We Learned

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MLS logoThere’s still a month and a half left in the Major League Soccer’s regular season, but one race is nearly over. It feels like a foregone conclusion that Toronto will take the Supporters’ Shield, especially after this past weekend’s games. Here’s what we learned.

TFC Continues Its Dominance

Toronto (17-3-8, 59 points) became the first team to clinch a playoff spot, as the Reds rolled over San Jose (10-12-6, 36), 4-0. Jozy Altidore scored twice, and Victor Vazquez had a goal and an assist in the romp. The hosts held 73 percent of the possession, and outshot the Earthquake, 20-6. With six games remaining, TFC is one point shy of 60, a number that won the Supporters’ Shield in each of the last two seasons.

Others in the East Falter

Toronto’s grasp on the Shield grew tighter as the teams behind it in the East dropped points. NYCFC (15-8-5, 50) got a late goal from Jack Harrison to defeat Kansas City (10-6-11, 41), but then lost over the weekend, 1-0, to Portland (12-9-8, 41). Chicago (13-9-6, 45) and the Red Bulls (12-10-5, 41) played to a 1-1 draw, as New York again let a road lead slip. Columbus (13-12-4, 43) was held to a draw at home against SKC.

Colorado Upends Houston

Houston (10-9-8, 38) slipped up at home for the first time season, losing in a surprise to Colorado (7-16-4, 25). At home, the Dynamo were averaging nearly three goals per game, and hadn’t been shut out all year. But they were scoreless despite 18 shots against the Rapids, with only three hitting the target. Dominique Badji scored in the 93rd minute to steal a win for Colorado, their first on the road. The result won’t do much for the last place Rapids, but it adds to the late-season stress for the Dynamo, now in fifth.

Atlanta Steamrolls Dallas

The other Texas team is in free-fall. Dallas has gone eight games without a win, and were on the wrong side of Atlanta’s homecoming on Sunday. United opened its stay at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a commanding 3-0 win in front of more than 45,000. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored the first goal in the stadium, and goals by Greg Garza and Josef Martínez poured it on in front of a sellout crowd. Dallas sits precariously in sixth, but the teams behind them also lost this weekend.

New England Gets a Vital Win

New England (10-12-5, 35) claimed a much-needed win on Saturday night against Montreal (10-11-6, 36), 1-0, complicating the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The game was scoreless for a more than an hour, until Lee Nguyen broke the deadlock. The Revs were closest to scoring the game’s next goal, with a pair of chances hitting the post shortly after Nguyen’s strike. They would not get a second, but the lead held.