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Champions History

MLS Cup winners list [Updated 2022]

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MLS Cup Winners

2021 – New York City FC

2020 – Columbus Crew

2019 – Seattle Sounders

2018 – Atlanta United

2017 – Toronto FC

2016 – Seattle Sounders

2015 – Portland Timbers

2014 – Los Angeles Galaxy

2013 – Sporting Kansas City

2012 – Los Angeles Galaxy

2011 – Los Angeles Galaxy

2010 – Colorado Rapids

2009 – Real Salt Lake

2008 – Columbus Crew

2007 – Houston Dynamo

2006 – Houston Dynamo

2005 – Los Angeles Galaxy

2004 – D.C United

2003 – San Jose Earthquakes

2002 – Los Angeles Galaxy

2001 – San Jose Earthquakes

2000 – Sporting Kansas City

1999 – D.C United

1998 – Chicago Fire

1997 – D.C United

1996 – D.C United

 

Also, Read: MLS all-time best teams ranked.

The Major League Soccer awards two silverware to the best two teams every season. But how is it done? Read on to know more about them.

 

1. Los Angeles Galaxy – 5 Titles

Years Won: 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014

 

Los Angeles Galaxy, often referred to as LA Galaxy, is the most successful MLS with five Cup titles and four Supporters Shield. The Galaxy has won two US Open Cup titles.

 

The club played its first season in 1996 as one of the charter clubs. The Galaxy won its first title in 2002 at the club’s fast rise.

 

LA Galaxy came back strong three years later to win their second title in 2005. However, it took the Los Angeles-based club six years for a third title.

 

The rest came easy for the LA Galaxy, who made it back-to-back wins to hold the record as the most successful team in the MLS with five titles.

 

The Galaxy had notable European soccer players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham in the past. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the best players in world football.

 

2. DC United – 4 Titles

Years Won: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2004

DC United won the inaugural season of the MLS with a defeat of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup or postseason playoffs final.

 

The Washington DC-based club also won the competition the following year before losing out to Chicago Fire which could have made it three consecutive wins for the American capital club.

 

MORE: MLS Teams by cities Conference and Nicknames.

DC United and LA Galaxy are two of the most successful teams in the early years of the MLS. The capital city club has also won four MLS Supporters Shield, with the last title in 2007. DC United has not followed up with the early success recorded in the league.

 

3. San Jose Earthquakes – 2 Titles

Years Won: 2001, 2003

 

4. Houston Dynamo – 2 Titles

Years Won: 2006, 2007

 

Houston Dynamo surprised many with their quick rise in the league. The Dynamo won the MLS Cup title back to back in 2006 and 2007. The Dynamos were in their best form at that time.

Houston Dynamo currently competes in the Major League Soccer as a member of the Western Conference.

 

5. Columbus Crew – 2 Titles

Years Won: 2008, 2020

Columbus is another big side with an impressive record in the league. The Crew won their first MLS Cup in the 2008 season.

 

The club came back strong despite the effects of the 2020 pandemic to lift the 2020 MLS Cup, knowns as the MLS Is Back Tournament.

 

6. Seattle Sounders FC – 2 Titles

Years Won 2016, 2019

Founded in 2007, the Sounders debuted in the MLS in 2009. The Sounders won their first Cup title in 2016 and added the second in 2019.

 

7. Chicago Fire – 1 Title

Years Won: 1998

8. Kansas City Wizards – 1 Title

Years Won: 2000

9. Real Salt Lake – 1 Title

Years Won: 2009

10. Colorado Rapids – 1 Title

Years Won: 2010

11. Sporting Kansas City – 1 Title

Years Won: 2013

12. Portland Timbers  – 1 Title

Years Won: 2015

13. Toronto FC – 1 Title

Years Won: 2017

15. Atlanta United FC – 1 Title

Years Won: 2018

16. New York City FC – 1 Title

Years Won: 2021

The New York City FC claimed their first-ever MLS Cup by beating Portland Timbers via penalties.

 

MLS Cup and Supporters Shield – what’s the difference, and who is the actual winner?

 

MLS Cup:

The MLS Cup winner is the United States Major League Soccer Champion.

Shield:

The MLS Supporters Shield is awarded to the team that finished the regular season with the most points better than the other teams in both conferences.

 

Supporters Shield winners

LA Galaxy and DC United are the most successful Supporters Shield winners, with four titles each. The two clubs are also the early winners of the competition, most especially DC United, who lifted the inaugural season in 1997.

 

In 1996, Tampa Bay Mutiny became the first team awarded the MLS Supporters Shield after the club finished the regular season with the most points.

 

The Supporters Shield awarding criteria? How are teams awarded the MLS Supporters Shield?

 

Since the Supporters Shield award began, over Fourteen different teams have been awarded the Supporters Shield. DC United and LA Galaxy have the most trophies with four titles.

 

Teams with most Supporters Shield

LA Galaxy – 4 Shields

Los Angeles Galaxy is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the United States. The Galaxy has won the MLS Cup and the Supporters Shield record times. In total, LA Galaxy has won four MLS Supporters Shield since 1998. However, it took another eight years to claim another title in 2010 and 2011, adding four numbers.

 

Galaxy could have extended the number of titles to eight but could only settle as runners-up on four different occasions.

 

DC United – 4 Shields

DC United were the early winners of the Supporters Shield. DC won it in 1997 but finished as runners-up in the 1998 season.

 

Columbus Crew – 3 Shields

Columbus Crew is third on the all-time Supporters Shield winners list with three titles, including back-to-back awards in 2008 and 2009.

 

New York Red Bulls – 3 Shields

The Bulls are also a top contender when it comes to the MLS. New York Red Bulls have won three Supporters Shield.

 

San Jose Earthquakes  – 2 Shields

San Jose Earthquakes were awarded twice in 2005 and 2012. The Earthquakes have also finished as runners-up on two occasions.

 

Other Supporters Shield winners on the list with at least one award are Sporting Kansas City, Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders, Toronto FC, Tampa Bay Mutiny, Miami Fusion, Los Angeles FC, and Philadelphia Union.

 

MLS Supporters Shield

2021 New England Revolution

2020 Philadelphia Union

2019 Los Angeles FC

2018 New York Red Bulls

2017 Toronto FC

2016 FC Dallas

2015 New York Red Bulls

2014 Seattle Sounders FC

2013 New York Red Bulls

2012 San Jose Earthquakes

2011 Los Angeles Galaxy

2010 Los Angeles Galaxy

2009 Columbus Crew

2008 Columbus Crew

2007 D.C. United

2006 D.C. United

2005 San Jose Earthquakes

2004 Columbus Crew

2003 Chicago Fire

2002 Los Angeles Galaxy

2001 Miami Fusion

2000 Kansas City Wizards

1999 D.C. United

1998 Los Angeles Galaxy

1997 D.C. United

1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny

 

MLS Supporters Shield winners by teams

Los Angeles Galaxy 4

DC United 4

Columbus Crew 3

New York Red Bulls 3

San Jose Earthquake 2

 

Teams in the Major League Soccer

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United FC
Chicago Fire FC
FC Cincinnati
Columbus Crew SC
D.C. United
Inter Miami CF
CF Montréal
Nashville SC
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Orlando City SC
Philadelphia Union
Toronto FC

Western Conference

Austin FC
Colorado Rapids
FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo FC
Sporting Kansas City
LA Galaxy
Los Angeles FC
Minnesota United FC
Portland Timbers
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

 

Competition in the Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer is the second most competitive league in the CONCACAF North American region, slightly behind Méxican Liga MX, regarded as the best in North America.

 

Popularity

Major League Soccer is one of the most famous soccer leagues globally, followed globally by international broadcast partners.

 

Some top teams in the division have supporters across the world. Big clubs like Los Angeles Galaxy, New York City FC, Inter Miami, Austin FC, Atlanta United, and DC United are recognised internationally.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.

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