Toronto FC went out on Saturday at BMO Field and beat San Jose 4-0. It was their fifth straight win, and all five have been by multiple goals. They've outscored opponents 17-3 in that span.
It actually was a little bit more difficult than the scoreline indicates, at least for the first half-hour. The Quakes, who've mostly been a front-foot, possession-based 3-5-2 team for the last couple of months, came out unexpectedly in a 4-4-1-1 and dropped a ton of numbers behind the ball from the first whistle. This didn't exactly "trouble" TFC, but it at least slowed them down for a little bit as the Reds weren't really creating a lot of danger.
The Andrew Tarbell whiffed on a cross to gift Toronto a goal after 25 minutes. And then, on the other side of the break, it became pretty clear that the Reds had a nice halftime chat in which they figured out how to break down the Quakes. Within a couple of minutes...
So this is situation normal for TFC at this point. The final score pushed their goal differential on the season to +33, which is the second-best in league history (+41 by the 1998 Galaxy is the mark they'll aim for), and they're now leading the league with 11 shutouts, and the list goes on. What we can add to it today is that the Supporters' Shield race is over.
To be honest it was probably over in July, back near the start of this current 10-game unbeaten streak, when a short-handed TFC team went to the Bronx and got a 2-2 draw from NYCFC, then a full-strength TFC team pounded the Cityzens 4-0 at BMO Field two weeks later. Patrick Vieira said so, and NYCFC fans certainly seem to think so:
They won it weeks ago...— Roddy Russell Jr. (@rrusselljr93) September 9, 2017
Fair enough. But there were nonetheless just six points separating TFC and NYCFC entering this weekend, and it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility that things could or would happen. Both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore left this weekend's game with injuries, after all. And Nick Hagglund is still missing, and Michael Bradley looked a bit heavy-legged, and Darwin Ceren almost broke Marky Delgado's leg... but it doesn't matter. The Reds are too deep and too in sync on both sides of the ball to be thrown off their stride even with absences like that.
NYCFC aren't. And so – nursing injuries of their own – they lost 1-0 at home to Portland, and are now nine points back of TFC with six games to go. The Reds need just 10 points from their final six games to officially clinch.
They'll do it, and I think they'll go down as one of the two or three best teams in MLS history. Keep winning into November and December, though, and there's no argument: They'll be No. 1.