By: Ed Hitchins
With a 2-2 draw in Atlanta against the United FC yesterday, Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC broke the record for most points by an MLS club in the regular season.
With 69 points, it eclipses the previous one held by the Los Angeles Galaxy set in 1998.
Sebastian Giovinco scored on a brilliant free kick just six minutes from time in front of a reported crowd of more than 70,000 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is an MLS record for attendance.
Charlie O’Connor-Clarke, writer for TFC blog Waking the Red on SBNation, suggests that the hangover of last season’s bitter defeat versus the Seattle Sounders with the MLS Cup on the line fueled their fire.
“It doesn’t get closer than that, losing the championship on penalties,” O’Connor-Clarke said. “Last year, making that far was out of schedule. They found out they needed one or two pieces to get them over the top.”
Toronto FC communications director Jeff Bradley said that the system established by the team management has helped propel the club to this point.
“We’ve had 12 consecutive sellouts to finish the season,” said Bradley. “In all likelihood, our playoffs tickets will be hard to come by, if they aren’t already gone. We’re on a upward trajectory, not just now but for years to come.”
TFC needed two extra games to grab the record. The Galaxy only needed 32 games to acquire 69 points, whereas Toronto needed 34. The Reds now have a first round playoff bye while they await the winners of first round knockout games between Chicago and New York, and Columbus and Atlanta
With their names now in the record books, O’Connor-Clarke believes that there are definitely teams that could challenge the Reds and spoil their efforts in the road back to the MLS Cup.
“Generally, they’re confident. There have been times this season they’ve underestimated their opponents. Really any team they come up against in the playoffs, especially in the eastern conference is a worthy adversary. Atlanta, Columbus or Chicago, all of those teams are extremely talented.”
The MLS playoffs begin on Oct. 26th.