Atlanta currently lead the Shield race by one point but have a tougher matchup in next week’s regular-season finale, traveling to Canada to face Toronto FC while the Red Bulls host lowly Orlando City SC.
“We’ll prepare ourselves the best way,” RBNY head coach Chris Armas said from Talen Energy Stadium following Sunday’s big win. “But at home, in front of our supporters, with a chance at that trophy, is all we can ask. We’re really excited for that chance, knowing Atlanta has to go to Toronto, where it’s hard to play and Toronto will give them everything. If they slip up a little bit, hopefully we can take care of business.”
It’s already been a historic season for the Red Bulls, who along with Atlanta set an MLS single-season wins record in the post-shootout era with 21. And currently sitting at 68 points, the Red Bulls could surpass the all-time points record that Toronto set last year and Atlanta matched Sunday (69).
But if TFC and the Red Bulls both win their home games next week, Armas, just a few months after taking over for Jesse Marsch, will have guided his team to the Shield as well as the greatest regular season in MLS history.
“Look, we don’t draw it up any way,” Armas said. “But when you start the year, you would hope to be in this spot where you’ve put together 21 wins. It’s been a great run the guys are on.”
Midfielder Sean Davis has said the players have tried to avoid scoreboard-watching in recent weeks.
But with every game kicking off at the same time next week, they’ll likely know as they walk off the field at Red Bull Arena how Atlanta did, and whether they can celebrate their club’s third Supporters’ Shield in the last six years.
“At the end of the day, we have to take care of our game or it won’t even matter,” Davis said. “We have to get that win at home next week. We know that and we’ll go from there. The game up in Toronto is out of our control.”
Added goalkeeper Luis Robles: “For us, the ultimate measuring stick for success is going to be trophies. We have the opportunity this season to win two trophies. And we know that we made it very difficult for Atlanta going into the last weekend. But with that being said, we have to get a result.”