2018 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Lucas Janson (9', 83')
  • Marco Delgado (21')
  • Sebastian Giovinco (88')
  • Josef Martínez (77' PEN)

Toronto FC ruins Atlanta United's Supporters' Shield hopes

Toronto FC ended an otherwise disappointing season on a high note, notching a 4-1 victory over Atlanta United on Sunday that cost Atlanta the Supporters' Shield.

Lucas Janson gave Toronto (10-18-6, 36 points) an early lead on a ninth-minute goal, then collected the brace by scoring again in the 83rd minute. Janson's second goal was an important momentum changer, giving his side some breathing room after Atlanta had been pressing over the previous 20 minutes.

Marco Delgado and Sebastian Giovinco also scored for Toronto FC, with Giovinco making a highlight-reel play in the 88th minute to slide a Jay Chapman cross inside the near post for the Italian striker's 13th goal of the season.

It was a strangely listless performance for an Atlanta side that entered the match with a one-point lead over New York Red Bulls in the race for the Supporters' Shield. Between the defeat and New York's 1-0 win over Orlando City, Atlanta United (21-7-6, 69 points) missed a chance at the first trophy in club history, and won't have home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup playoffs.

New York also now holds the record for most points in a single season. Atlanta's 69 points tie with the previous record-holders, Toronto FC in 2017.

Atlanta United's attack didn't manage a shot on goal in the first half, though Josef Martinez came close on a hard shot off the post in the 41st minute. The pressure began to build in the second half, however, with Martinez denied on a great save from goalkeeper Alex Bono, and Julian Gressel sending another near-goal off the crossbar.

Atlanta finally broke through after an Ashtone Morgan foul in the box led to Martinez burying a penalty kick in the 77th minute. The goal extended Martinez's record-setting total to 31, clinching the MLS Golden Boot trophy for the star forward.

Midfielder Hector Villalba brought a spark to Atlanta's attack after coming into the game as a halftime substitution. Villalba made his return to the field after missing last week's game with an injury, and now looks to be in good fitness for the playoffs.

Atlanta United will receive a bye through the knockout round of the playoffs, and will next face the second-lowest Eastern Conference seed remaining in the conference semifinals.

Toronto FC will miss the postseason, becoming the fourth team in league history to win the MLS Cup and then miss the next year's playoffs.