Greg Vanney Upset Over Supporters’ Shield Award

By Ben Hamill - October 21 2020
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Greg Vanney Upset Over Supporters’ Shield Award

Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney says the decision to not award the Supporters’ Shield to any club this year is disappointing and disgraceful. The decision referred to by Vanney was made by the group charged with overseeing the handing out of the annual award, the Supporters’ Shield Foundation. The Shield has been handed out every year since 1998 and is traditionally awarded to the team that posts the best record for the regular season.

Every last player competing in Major League Soccer (MLS) plays for the Supporters’ Shield, said Vanney on Sunday night after Toronto’s 1-0 win over Atlanta in East Hartford, Connecticut. Since the shield is awarded to the team that has endured irrespective of whatever the circumstances, the head coach believes 2020 should not be excepted – imbalanced season that it’s been aside,

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A Trophy Will Be Lifted

Vanney’s disappointment is understandable. Toronto FC currently leads the regular season standings and looks likely to retain their position all the way through.

But Vanney has a Plan B. Something will be lifted at the end of the season if Toronto wins, said the head coach of the foundation’s decision, even if that something means a manhole cover spray-painted silver and gold. Celebrating a win is something Vanney says nobody can take away from his team.

Major League Soccer has however confirmed that the team finishing first in the overall standings for the regular season will still receive the US$150,000 bonus annually paid to the top-performing club. That and the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League berth remains on the table, said the league in a recent statement. But since Canadian clubs can only qualify for the Champions League berth via the Canadian Championship, Toronto FC will still have to earn their berth by beating CPL club Hamilton’s Forge FC in the revamped format.

2020 Not In Spirit Of Shield

The foundation has in the meantime defended its clearly controversial decision by referring to the inability of supporters to this year attend live games in person. The “current climate” and imbalance of a thrown-by-crisis regular season goes against the very spirit of the Shield, the foundation explained in a statement.

Toronto in 2017 celebrated a treble achievement by winning the Supporters’ Shield, the MLS Cup, and the Canadian Championship in a single year. Other teams to have won the Supporters’ Shield include D.C. United (4), the Los Angeles Galaxy (4), the Columbus Crew SC (3), and the San Jose Earthquakes (2).

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