Atlanta United have been leading the 2018 Supporters’ Shield standings for months, and can clinch that piece of hardware – it would be the first in club history – by keeping their noses ahead of the second-place New York Red Bulls on Decision Day presented by AT&T on Sunday.
But FiveThirtyEight.com has some bad news for Five Stripes supporters.
The famed polling and data-crunching website’s latest MLS forecasts show the Shield race breaking the Red Bulls’ way in a photo finish, with RBNY winning the MLS regular-season championship by a single point.
While the site’s quantitative gurus would probably remind us here that this race is well within the typical margins of error, FiveThirtyEight sees Atlanta managing just a draw in their visit to reigning Shield holders Toronto FC (4:30 pm ET | TSN4 – full TV and streaming info). That opens the door for the Red Bulls to surge ahead of them with a home victory over Orlando City SC (4:30 pm ET | full TV and streaming info), which is exactly what they project happening.
Should Sunday’s events unfold that way, it would mark New York’s third Shield triumph, joining their impressive 2013 and 2015 campaigns.
Both ATLUTD and RBNY remain dead-even in terms of their 538 MLS Cup projections, with both rated at a league-best 23 percent probability of winning the title. Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City are the only other team within shouting distance in that metric, the Midwesterners given a 19 percent probability of hoisting their third league title come December.