Atlanta United missed out on the Supporters’ Shield and a piece of MLS history.
With a chance to achieve both in Sunday’s regular-season finale, the Five Stripes were shellacked by Toronto FC, 4-1, at BMO Field, paving a path for the New York Red Bulls to win the Supporters’ Shield with the most all-time points in a single season (71).
Atlanta finish the regular season with 69 points, tied with 2017 Toronto FC for the second most ever.
But Martinez missed a golden opportunity when he struck the post right before halftime and again in the 60th minute when he was thwarted by TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono.
Atlanta thought they had scored in the 63rd minute but a late flag was shown for offside on Martinez after Julian Gressel banged home a rebound of a Martinez shot. Gressel also blasted a shot off the crossbar seven minutes later.
Toronto had a Justin Morrow goal called back earlier in the second half due to Video Review when Janson was called offside.
Janson got Toronto on the board early, thanks to a turnover and fortunate deflection. TFC doubled their lead in the 21st minute after some clever ballwork from Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio set up Delgado for his second goal of the year.
Giovinco iced the contest with his 13th goal of the year on a brilliant sliding finish, just before the whistle blew on the game and the regular season.
- 9' — TOR — Lucas Janson WATCH
- 21' — TOR — Marco Delgado WATCH
- 77' — ATL — Josef Martinez (PK) WATCH
- 83' — TOR — Lucas Janson WATCH
- 88' — TOR — Sebastian Giovinco WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: It was all there for the taking for Atlanta United, who in their second season needed only a Decision Day win over a slumping squad for MLS immortality. This Five Stripes team is still one of the best ever assembled but they’re suddenly facing a lot more pressure to go on a deep playoff run before head coach Tata Martino and possibly some players exit in the offseason. As for TFC, although they finish a rough season in ninth place in the East, they can take some solace that they prevented Atlanta from winning a Shield (and surpassing the 69 points they amassed in their Shield-winning campaign last year) on their field.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Fans will likely point to some of the refereeing decisions as turning points but Toronto’s second goal was a thing of beauty and showed that the defending champs came to play on a day they weren’t playing for the playoffs or seeding.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Janson, acquired in August on loan from Tigre, picked a good time to score his first MLS brace. The 24-year-old Argentinian certainly seems worthy of a long-term investment for Toronto.
- TOR: End of season
- ATL: Eastern Conference semifinals | Sunday, November 11 at TBD