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

SeasonWinnerFinalistFinal score
1996DC UnitedLos Angeles Galaxy3-2ap
1997DC UnitedColorado Rapids2-1
1998Chicago FireDC United2-0
1999DC UnitedLos Angeles Galaxy2-0
2000Kansas City WizardsChicago Fire1-0
2001San José EarthquakesLos Angeles Galaxy2-1ap
2002Los Angeles GalaxyNew England Revolution1-0ap
2003San José EarthquakesChicago Fire4-2
2004DC UnitedKansas City Wizards3-2
2005Los Angeles GalaxyNew England Revolution1-0ap
2006Houston dinamoNew England Revolution1-1 (4-3tab)
2007Houston dinamoNew England Revolution2-1
2008Columbus crewNew York Red Bulls3-1
2009Real salt lakeLos Angeles Galaxy1-1 (5-4tab)
2010Colorado RapidsFC Dallas2-1ap
2011Los Angeles GalaxyHouston dinamo1-0
2012Los Angeles GalaxyHouston dinamo3-1
2013Sporting Kansas CityReal salt lake1-1 (7-6tab)
2014Los Angeles GalaxyNew England Revolution2-1ap
2015Portland TimbersColumbus crew2-1
2016Seattle SoudersToronto fc0-0 (5-4tab)
2017Toronto fcSeattle Sounders2-0
2018Atlanta unitedPortland Timbers2-0


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