MLS Cup is the ultimate prize in the culmination of the Major League Soccer season. Since the league kicked its first soccer ball back in 1996 a total of 13 teams have lifted the championship in 25 years.
The league has had two major dynasties in its 25-year history, the early years saw dominance by D.C. United, while the late 2000’s saw the L.A. Galaxy become the team to beat in MLS. There have been memorable champions like the Columbus Crew of 2008, led by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and most recently the Seattle Sounders have cemented themselves as the team to beat in MLS.
The player who has won the most MLS Cups belongs to American legend, Landon Donovan with 6, while Jeff Agoos, Todd Dunivant, and Brian Mullan follow with 5. Here is a breakdown of all the teams to have won the MLS Cup.
Teams with 1 MLS Cup
Atlanta United (2018) is one of the most memorable 1-time champions, as the Tata Martino led team was an offensive juggernaut, with Josef Martínez and Miguel Almirón. The Portland Timbers won their title (2015) with Diego Valeri leading the charge, while the Chicago Fire were the first expansion team to win a championship in their inaugural year in 1998. Rounding out the list of 1-time champions are the Toronto FC (2017), Colorado Rapids (2010), and Real Salt Lake (2009).
Teams with 2 MLS Cups
The Seattle Sounders have made four trips to the finals and have won 2 cups (2016, 2019), all of which they have been led by Nicolás Lodeiro. Sporting Kansas City won a memorable first title in 2000 led by the only MLS MVP goalkeeper, the legendary Tony Meola, their second came in 2013. The San Jose Earthquakes won two titles with Landon Donovan (2001, 2003), and when the team was relocated to Houston won two more as the Dynamo in 2006 and 2007. Also, the Columbus Crew recently won their second MLS cup in 2020 after securing their first one in 2008.
D.C United and their 4 MLS Cups
The early dynasty of MLS was the Bruce Arena led D.C. United teams. The club won 3 titles (96,97,99) in 4 seasons and then in 2004 won their fourth. The D.C. teams of the early years of MLS had Jaime Moreno, John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry, Eddie Pope and Raúl Díaz Arce. They won titles in the domestic front as well as the international front winning the CONCACAF Champions cup and the Interamerica cup beating Copa Libertadores champion Vasco Da Gama in 1998.
L.A. Galaxy and their 5 MLS Cups
For a long time, the L.A. Galaxy were good but not good enough, losing three finals in the early years of the league. They got the monkey off their back in 2002, in 2005 they won their second, and would win two titles during the Beckham era (2011,2012). Their last championship came in 2014 and since the club has not been back to the finals.