Over the last few decades, Major League Soccer has taken massive strides to becoming one of the world’s most popular soccer leagues.
The American population typically loves to watch sports like American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey, but it’s quite encouraging to see a steady stream of increased soccer viewership, which does in fact round up “the Big-Five”.
Today’s article focuses precisely on the topic of MLS Cup winners, because as America’s premier soccer division continues to grow in popularity, more questions about the competition arise.
Which is why answering the question of which teams have won the league title and in what year is so pertinent.
Right, that’s enough waffle!
Let’s get into the finer details.
MLS Cup winners list
The table below contains all the past winners of this competition, all the way from its initial inception in 1996:
|1996||October 20||D.C. United||Los Angeles Galaxy||D.C. United (3) - (2) LA Galaxy; [after extra time]||Foxboro Stadium||34,643|
|1997||October 26||D.C. United||Colorado Rapids||D.C. United (2) - (1) Colorado Rapids||RFK Memorial Stadium||57,431|
|1998||October 25||Chicago Fire||D.C. United||Chicago Fire (2) - (0) D.C. United||Rose Bowl||51,350|
|1999||November 21||D.C. United||Los Angeles Galaxy||Chicago Fire (2) - (0) LA Galaxy||Foxboro Stadium||44,910|
|2000||October 15||Kansas City Wizards||Chicago Fire||Kansas City Wizards (1) - (0) Chicago Fire||RFK Memorial Stadium||39,159|
|2001||October 21||San Jose Earthquakes||Los Angeles Galaxy||San Jose Earthquakes (2) - (1) LA Galaxy; [after extra time]||Crew Stadium||21,626|
|2002||October 20||Los Angeles Galaxy||New England Revolution||LA Galaxy (1) - (0) New England Revolution; [after extra time]||Gillette Stadium||61,316|
|2003||November 23||San Jose Earthquakes||Chicago Fire||San Jose Earthquakes (4) - (2) Chicago Fire||Home Depot Center||27,000|
|2004||November 14||D.C. United||Kansas City Wizards||D.C. United (3) - (2) Kansas City Wizards||Home Depot Center||25,797|
|2005||November 13||Los Angeles Galaxy||New England Revolution||LA Galaxy (1) - (0) New England Revolution; [after extra time]||Pizza Hut Park||21,193|
|2006||November 12||Houston Dynamo||New England Revolution||Houston Dynamo (1) - (1) New England Revolution; [4-3 on pens]||Pizza Hut Park||22,427|
|2007||November 18||Houston Dynamo||New England Revolution||Houston Dynamo (2) - (1) New England Revolution||RFK Memorial Stadium||39,859|
|2008||November 23||Columbus Crew||New York Red Bulls||Columbus Crew (3) - (1) New York Red Bulls||Home Depot Center||27,000|
|2009||November 22||Real Salt Lake||Los Angeles Galaxy||Real Salt Lake (1) - (1) LA Galaxy; [5-4 on pens]||Qwest Field||46,011|
|2010||November 21||Colorado Rapids||FC Dallas||Colorado Rapids (2) - (1) FC Dallas; [after extra time]||BMO Field||21,700|
|2011||November 20||Los Angeles Galaxy||Houston Dynamo||LA Galaxy (1) - (0) Houston Dynamo||Home Depot Center||30,281|
|2012||December 1||Los Angeles Galaxy||Houston Dynamo||LA Galaxy (3) - (1) Houston Dynamo||Home Depot Center||30,510|
|2013||December 7||Sporting Kansas City||Real Salt Lake||Sporting Kansas City (1) - (1) Real Salt Lake; [7-6 on pens]||Sporting Park||21,650|
|2014||December 7||Los Angeles Galaxy||New England Revolution||LA Galaxy (2) - (1) New England Revolution; [after extra time]||StubHub Center||27,000|
|2015||December 6||Portland Timbers||Columbus Crew||Portland Timbers (2) - (1) Columbus Crew||Mapfre Stadium||21,747|
|2016||December 10||Seattle Sounders FC||Toronto FC||Seattle Sounders FC (2) - (1) Toronto FC; [5-4 on pens]||BMO Field||36,045|
|2017||December 9||Toronto FC||Seattle Sounders FC||Toronto FC (2) - (0) Seattle Sounders FC||BMO Field||30,584|
|2018||December 8||Atlanta United FC||Portland Timbers||Atlanta United FC (2) - (0) Portland Timbers||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||73,019|
|2019||November 10||Seattle Sounders FC||Toronto FC||Seattle Sounders FC (3) - (1) Toronto FC||CenturyLink Field||69,274|
|2020||December 12||Columbus Crew||Seattle Sounders FC||Columbus Crew (3) - (0) Seattle Sounders FC||Mapfre Stadium||1,500 (limited due to COVID-19 restrictions)|
|2021||December 11||New York City FC||Portland Timbers||New York City FC (1) - (1) Portland Timbers; [4-2 on pens]||Providence Park||25,218|
Who has the most MLS Cup wins?
According to the history books, Los Angeles Galaxy currently hold the record for the most MLS Cup wins as they have an enviable total of five titles.
It’s pretty easy to see why when they’ve had a fantastic crop of past players like Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane represent them in years gone by.
Following closely behind the team from Los Angeles is D.C. United, who’ve managed to rack up four MLS Cup wins within the same period of time.
Here’s a table that accurately breaks down the total number of wins recorded by the teams that have had the honor of lifting this trophy:
|Team||Number of Titles||Runner-up Awards|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||5||4|
|Seattle Sounders FC||2||2|
|Columbus Crew SC||2||1|
|Sporting Kansas City||2||0|
|San Jose Earthquakes||2||0|
|Portland Timbers FC||1||2|
|Kansas City Wizards||1||1|
|Real Salt Lake||1||1|
|New York City FC||1||0|
|New England Revolution||0||5|
|New York Red Bulls||0||1|
How many teams have won the MLS Cup?
From the data above, it’s quite easy to decipher how many teams have been a league champion.
All you have to do is count each row and you’ll arrive at your answer!
But for those of you that are too lazy to put your finger on the screen and do a manual count, we’ll make things easier for you.
A total of 15 teams have won the MLS Cup on at least one occasion.
This list includes:
- Los Angeles Galaxy;
- D.C. United;
- Seattle Sounders FC;
- Columbus Crew SC;
- Houston Dynamo;
- San Jose Earthquakes;
- Sporting Kansas City;
- Toronto FC;
- Chicago Fire;
- Colorado Rapids;
- Portland Timbers FC;
- Real Salt Lake City;
- Kansas City Wizards;
- New York City FC; and
- Atlanta United
Who won the MLS Cup in 2021?
In the past season (i.e. the campaign before the current one), the last MLS Cup trophy was lifted by New York City FC.
This was their first ever MLS Cup win, and they fought extremely hard for it as they had to overcome the Portland Timbers in a penalty shootout after a one-goal draw in normal time.
New York managed to net four penalties as opposed to their rivals’ lower tally of two.
Who won the MLS Cup in 2020?
In 2020, Columbus Crew SC emerged as the victors of the MLS Cup final.
They battled bravely to defeat Seattle Sounders by a 3-0 scoreline in normal time.
Columbus Crew SC had waited a long time to lift the trophy for a second time, as their most previous MLS Cup success before this one was far back in the year 2008.
How is the MLS Cup won?
The MLS Cup title is the culmination of the league’s playoff system which pits the winners of the Eastern Conference against the victors of the opposite Western Conference.
So, whoever manages to prevail in this final fixture is awarded a prestigious spot in soccer’s history books.
The qualification system is actually quite similar to basketball in America, where the top eight finishers of each conference in the NBA go through a playoff phase to determine the winner of each conference.
And after the two finalists have emerged, they face off in a winner takes all best of 7 championship series.
However, in the case of the MLS Cup final, only a single fixture between winners of the Eastern and Western Conferences takes place.
This article has shown you which teams have won the MLS Cup by detailing the list of winners across multiple seasons.
If you’ve enjoyed this read, then you might also want to check out the article detailing the Premier League Golden Boot winners for each past campaign, as well as the Spanish Copa del Rey title winners.