Toronto FC might be a few wins away from history, but coach Greg Vanney cautions his team can’t get ahead of itself.
Toronto’s quest for the best record in Major League Soccer history remains firmly intact after a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. But in the moments after the thrilling win, Vanney and his Reds spoke about the importance of the process.
“I want them to embrace [the goal] one game at a time,” Vanney said. “They’re very much aware of the possibilities, but it’s a mature group and they’re very much aware that you only get to actually see those things if you can make one play at a time, play one game at a time.
“We all know what’s out there, we don’t really talk about it too much as a group.”
Sebastian Giovinco, newcomer Nicolas Hasler, and Jozy Altidore scored as league-leading Toronto stretched its unbeaten run to eight games, and remained undefeated this season at BMO Field.
Quite a roll
With eight games to go in the regular season, the Reds, who haven’t lost since a 3-1 setback in Dallas on July 1, remain on pace for the finest record in MLS history. The 1998 L.A. Galaxy boast the best record in history — 68 points. Toronto currently has 53 points, already tying their regular-season best.
Coming off a sizzling 3-1 road win over Eastern Conference rival Chicago last weekend, Vanney’s message to his Reds was clear: do not let a letdown against the struggling Union get in the way of their chase for the team’s first-ever Supporters’ Shield, which is presented to the MLS squad with the best regular-season record.
Team captain Michael Bradley echoed Vanney’s message, saying every game from here on in is “the biggest game of the season.”
“You get to this time of the year and it’s what it’s all about,” Bradley said. “Every weekend is a final. Every team is playing for something, whether it’s Supporters’ Shield, or positioning, or to get into the playoffs, the weather starts to cool down, the games start to pick up in tempo and intensity.
“We feel really good about everything that’s gone into this season. . . but we understand that we have not done anything yet. The biggest games are still to come. The trophies haven’t been passed out yet. And as long as that’s the case we’re going to keep going and going.”
Giovinco recorded goal No. 13 of the season on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box in the 10th minute, curling a beautiful ball over the defensive wall and into the top right corner that Union ‘keeper Andre Blake had almost no hope of stopping.
Hasler doubled Toronto’s lead in the 30th minute off a corner kick from Victor Vasquez. The 26-year-old from Liechtenstein, who now has two goals in four appearances since signing with TFC last month, sprinted into the box unchallenged, heading the ball past Blake.
Hasler, whose pair of goals for Toronto mark the first two he’s ever scored on headers, called the team’s historic chase “Just perfect. I heard the coach speaking about this, that we can do the best results ever in MLS. . . If we keep going like this, I think we can reach it.”
Altidore, who’d had a goal waved off as offside earlier in the night, made good in the 57th minute. Fighting off a pair of Union defenders, Altidore passed to Vasquez, then scored on the give-and-go, chipping a left-footed shot past Blake from inside the six-yard box.
Toronto, which began the night four points ahead of New York City FC, improved to 15-3-8 and 10-0-3 at home.