Toronto FC takes possession of Supporters' Shield prior to Montreal match

By The Canadian Press
October 15, 2017 - 3:45pm

Toronto FC collected another trophy on Sunday as the Supporters' Shield was paraded around BMO Field.

The Supporters' Shield, introduced by organized fan groups, is awarded annually to the supporters of the team with the best regular-season record in Major League Soccer. The trophy is worth US$130,000, paid into the Toronto team bonus pool.

It also means that Toronto has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The presentation took place prior to Toronto's regular-season finale against the Montreal Impact. Toronto was 19-5-8 going into the match.

Supporters group representatives from TFC and FC Dallas, who had ownership of the trophy after topping the table last season, emerged from the tunnel prior to the game for the trophy handover.

A giant banner at BMO Field's south stand, home to hardcore fans, read "Started from the bottom now we're here."

The MLS crowns its champion via the playoffs. Still the Supporters' Shield carries weight in a sport where the regular season decides the champion in most leagues around the world. And given Toronto kicked off the season March 4, it is symbolic of excellence over seven-plus months.

The MLS Cup remains the ultimate goal. Toronto fell just short in a penalty shootout loss to Seattle last year.

It's the second trophy for TFC this season. Toronto won the Voyageurs Cup on June 27, defeating Montreal 3-2 on aggregate in the Canadian Championship final.

Toronto clinched the Supporters' Shield on Sept. 30 with a 4-2 home win over the New York Red Bulls. But the trophy had to be officially handed over.

Eleven different MLS clubs have won the Supporters' Shield in the league's 21-season history, with both the L.A. Galaxy and D.C. United claiming the trophy a record four times.

Toronto is the first Canadian side to win the trophy.

Of the previous 20 winners, six have gone on to win the MLS Cup, one was runner-up while seven exited in the conference championships and seven lost in the conference semifinals.

Toronto is bidding to become the first team in league history to win the treble: the MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield and the U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship. A domestic double has been won 13 times.

Toronto has been on a record run this season.

Greg Vanney's team came into Sunday's game having already set franchise records for wins (19), points (65), home wins (12) home points (39), away wins (7), away points (26), and goals scored (71).

TFC is also the first team in league history to have two six-game win streaks in a single season.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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Sun, 15 Oct 2017 17:31:10 -0400

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