Major League Soccer

All MLS Champions since 1996

Champions from 1996 to 2020

All MLS Champions since 1996
All MLS Champions since 1996

It all really began in 1993, when Alan Rothenberg, US Soccer president of that time, realized a personal dream that was also a requirement of FIFA to grant the rights to host the 1994 World Cup to the United States. 

The league was founded in 1993 and launched three years later. Ten teams, two conferences, a tournament that escaped the FIFA and IFAB (the organization that oversees and defines the rules of the game), and a handful of international stars were a testament to the emerging economic power.

26 seasons later, the changes are notorious: there are no longer 10 competitors, but 27; the trophy has changed its appearance on two occasions, draws are now allowed, the bizarre shootouts were discarded and, despite the fact that its activities do not fall within the conventional FIFA calendar (August-May), the rules are standardized with those of the International Federation. 

The first MLS season left an average of 17,406 stadium attendance, according to official data. By 2019, the number had grown to 21,305, with a cumulative total of 8,676,109, tripling the number of fans in 1996 (2,785,001). Of course, the number of fixtures was three times lower, but the progression is evident.

With these averages, MLS is one of the 10 best-attended soccer leagues, according to BBC and France Football reports. In terms of value, the increase is even more remarkable. According to Transfermarkt, a portal specialized in player and team valuations, the sum of the value of all MLS squads was $169 million (without inflationary adjustment). Currently, the total is $966 million dollars.

With this in mind, we bring you all the teams that have lifted the MLS Cup.

One-time MLS Cup Winners

Team: Chicago Fire; year: 1998; Best Player: Piotr Novak; Manager: Bob Bradley

Team: Real Salt Lake; year: 2009; Best Player: Robbie Findley; Manager: Jason Kreis

Team: Colorado Rapids; year: 2010; Best Player: Omar Cummings; Manager: Gary Smith

Team: Portland Timbers; year: 2015; Best Player: Diego Valeri; Manager: Caleb Porter

Team: Toronto FC; year: 2017; Best Player: Sebastian Giovinco; Manager: Greg Vanney

Team: Atlanta United; year: 2018; Best Player: Josef Martínez; Manager: Gerardo Martino

Two-time MLS Cup Winners

Team: Sporting Kansas City (formerly called Wizards); years: 2000 and 2013; Best Players: Tony Meola and Graham Zuzi; Managers: Bob Gansler and Peter Vermes 

Team: San Jose Earthquakes; years: 2001 and 2003; Best Players: Ronald Cerritos and Landon Donovan; Managers: Frank Yallop both times

Team: Houston Dynamo; years: 2006 and 2007; Best Players: Brian Ching and Dwayne de Rosario; Managers: Dominic Kinnear both times

Team: Columbus Crew; years: 2008 and 2020; Best Players: Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Lucas Zelarayán; Managers: Caleb Porter

Team: Seattle Sounders; years: 2016 and 2019; Best Players: Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidiaz; Managers: Brian Schemetzer both times

DC United 4th time MLS Cup Champion

A team captained by John Harkes, led by Marco 'El Diablo' Etcheverry, supported by Jaime Moreno, Raul Diaz Arce, and Bruce Arena as the manager, the capital team achieved the championship twice (1996 and 1997) and repeated in 1999. And they could have been crowned in 1998, but the Chicago Fire of the Polish tandem Jerzy Podbrożny - Piotr Nowak put their dominance on a high, just for one year.

In 2004 DC United become champions again, having as a star Alecko Eskandarian, and curiously, they were coached by Piotr Nowak, who in 1998, where he was still playing as a footballer, took away the possibility that the team from the capital, could win the MLS Cup three consecutive times.

Los Angeles Galaxy 5th time MLS Cup Champion

For a long time, the L.A. Galaxy were good but not good enough, losing three finals in the early years of the league. Even though they failed three times, Los Angeles Galaxy recovered and they pulled out the magic wand in 2002. In 2005 they won their second and in the next decade, they won two more titles during the Beckham era (2011,2012). Their last championship came in 2014 and since then, the club has not been back to the finals.


Hugo Alberto Walls Gómez

SEO Journalist. Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Media Production. Two years working in digital media and editorial assignments. Currently working for Futbolero US and collaborating with INDeportes and Goleadoras MX, following Liga MX, MLS, and the Premier League. Passionate about sports and soccer.+ info

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