Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley says he and his team captured the 2017 MLS Supporters’ Shield for “us.”
In a letter he penned for the official TFC website, Bradley explains that “us” is meant to be interpreted as “everyone at the club, and everyone in the stands” and that winning the Shield – awarded to the MLS team that finished with the most points in the regular season – was just part of a philosophical shift within the locker room after the team fell in a penalty shootout in last year’s MLS Cup final.
“When we sat down as a group early in pre-season this year, we talked about this idea of being different,” Bradley wrote.
“The loss in the final was still clearly on everyone’s mind, but we understood that the only way to ever give ourselves a chance at redemption was to play 90 minutes at a time, for 34 games. Go after every game with the same mentality that we played with during the second half of last season.”
Bradley also says the importance of winning the Supporters’ Shield stems from the fact that he wanted to ensure the final game of the TFC season – whether it be the MLS Cup or not – is held at BMO Field.
“But just as importantly, to win the Shield would guarantee that the last game we play this season will be at BMO Field,” wrote the TFC captain.
“If anyone is going to end our season, they’re going to have to do it on our field, in our weather, with our supporters, our fans, and the entire city of Toronto behind us.”
TFC claimed the Supporters’ Shield with a 4-2 home victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. The club currently has 65 points, three shy of the L.A. Galaxy’s record 68 that was set in 1998, with two more regular-season matches remaining.
The MLS Cup Playoffs will begin Oct. 25.
Check out Bradley’s full letter here.