NYCFC's Patrick Vieira concedes MLS Supporters' Shield race to Toronto FC
New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira believes Toronto FC will not be caught in the race for the MLS Supporters' Shield.
NYCFC rallied to beat the New England Revolution on Sunday to stay four points back of the Eastern Conference leaders, after Toronto ran out to a 3-1 win away to the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
And based on Toronto's current form, Vieira does not expect to pass the Reds for the league's best regular-season record, despite having nine games remaining.
"It was important to win because I believe it's always good to get close to Toronto, but I believe Toronto's already the champions," the former Arsenal star said.
"I think all the other teams are going to fight for the second spot and Toronto will win the league. I think you see it last night, they are quite really strong and I don't think anybody will catch them."
Toronto FC is seeking its first MLS trophy since joining the league in 2007. The club is unbeaten in its past seven games and moved on 50 points with the win, a full 10 points better than the Western Conference pace-setters.
No Canadian team has ever won the Supporters' Shield, but FiveThirtyEight's predictions give Toronto an 80 percent chance to claim it, to just 11 percent for NYCFC.
Winning six of its remaining nine games would also give Toronto the all-time MLS points record of 68 points, set by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1998.
And while getting through the playoffs to win the MLS Cup is still the league's biggest prize, Toronto captain Michael Bradley said the Reds also have their sights set on the Shield.
"We wanted to send out a message across the league that said the Supporters' Shield means a lot to us," he said, "and we're giving everything we have to win it."
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.