MLS – Record, defending champion and who won the most titles?

The new Major League Soccer (MLS) season kicks off this Saturday. The opportunity to take stock of the achievements of this growing championship.

The first day of MLS begins this Saturday with the meeting Philadelphia Union-Toronto FC (7 p.m. French time).

The championship is now made up of 24 franchises, with the arrival in the Eastern Conference of FC Cincinnati, which will make its very first season. This is a closed league, meaning that there is no promotion or relegation at the end of each season.

These 24 teams are divided into two conferences, east and west, each bringing together 12 of them. From March to October, each team plays 34 days: 2 matches against other teams from the same conference and one against teams from the other conference.

At the end of these 34 days – which constitute the regular season -, the first six of each conference will compete for the play off to decide the title. The first two are directly qualified for the conference semi-finals, while the teams classified from 3rd to 6th place play a play-off. The two conference winners compete in the « MLS Cup », which determines the winner of the championship.

Note that from this 2019 season, the play off will be played in single matches on the field of the highest-ranked team in the regular season, and no longer in home and away matches. A change that aims to reward the performance of teams throughout the season.

Who is the defending MLS champion?

The 2018 MLS season gave birth to an unprecedented champion: Atlanta United, who won the championship final against Portland (2-0). A particularly rapid success for the franchise which entered the championship in 2017 and was therefore only playing its second season.

Atlanta has now been coached by Dutchman Frank de Boer since last December.

Who has won the most MLS titles?

Beckham Los Angeles Galaxy

The most successful club in 23 MLS editions is Los Angeles Galaxy, which has won the championship 5 times – and played a total of 9 finals. The former club of David Beckham – crowned with the club in 2011 and 2012 – was titled for the first time in 2002; his last title dating back to 2014. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s teammates will try to gain even more of their franchise this season.

LA Galaxy, Zlatan considers himself « bigger than the whole MLS »

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The Californians are closely followed in the charts by DC United, which has four coronations. The team from the American capital notably won the first two editions of the MLS, in 1996 and 1997.

Champion last season, Atlanta United became the 13th franchise to win the title at least once in 23 seasons.

All MLS Finals

Season Winner Finalist Final score
1996 DC United Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2ap
1997 DC United Colorado Rapids 2-1
1998 Chicago Fire DC United 2-0
1999 DC United Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0
2000 Kansas City Wizards Chicago Fire 1-0
2001 San José Earthquakes Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1ap
2002 Los Angeles Galaxy New England Revolution 1-0ap
2003 San José Earthquakes Chicago Fire 4-2
2004 DC United Kansas City Wizards 3-2
2005 Los Angeles Galaxy New England Revolution 1-0ap
2006 Houston dinamo New England Revolution 1-1 (4-3tab)
2007 Houston dinamo New England Revolution 2-1
2008 Columbus crew New York Red Bulls 3-1
2009 Real salt lake Los Angeles Galaxy 1-1 (5-4tab)
2010 Colorado Rapids FC Dallas 2-1ap
2011 Los Angeles Galaxy Houston dinamo 1-0
2012 Los Angeles Galaxy Houston dinamo 3-1
2013 Sporting Kansas City Real salt lake 1-1 (7-6tab)
2014 Los Angeles Galaxy New England Revolution 2-1ap
2015 Portland Timbers Columbus crew 2-1
2016 Seattle Souders Toronto fc 0-0 (5-4tab)
2017 Toronto fc Seattle Sounders 2-0
2018 Atlanta united Portland Timbers 2-0

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