List of MLS Cup finals
The MLS Cup is the annual championship match of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top-level soccer league for the United States and Canada. The match marks the conclusion of the MLS Cup Playoffs, a four-round knockout competition contested by the top six teams from each of the league's two conferences. The playoffs tournament is organized by the league at the conclusion of the regular season in a format similar to other professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, but unlike other soccer leagues. The league also awards the Supporters' Shield to regular season winners. Both the MLS Cup champion and Supporters' Shield winner qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, contested by the champions of the North American leagues.
The MLS Cup was established in 1996 and originally hosted by a neutral site selected by the league before the beginning of the regular season. Three teams played in a final match hosted at their home stadium: D.C. United in 1997, New England Revolution in 2002, and LA Galaxy in 2011. Since the 2012 edition, the match has been hosted by the remaining team with the highest regular season standing. The final, originally contested in October, was moved to November and later December as the length of the regular season and playoffs were extended by the league. The playoffs originally allowed for lower-ranked seeds, known as "wild cards", to be placed into different sides of the bracket regardless of their actual conference. As a result, several MLS Cups have featured two teams from the same conference.
The LA Galaxy hold the record for most MLS Cup titles, having won five times in nine appearances. The championship has been won by the same team in two or more consecutive years on three occasions. The cup is currently held by the Toronto FC, who defeated Seattle Sounders FC in the 2017 final, a rematch of the 2016 final contested by the two teams.
|*||Match went to extra time|
|Match decided by a penalty shootout after extra time|
|Bold||Team won the MLS Supporters' Shield|
|Italics||Team won the U.S. Open Cup or the Canadian Championship|
Results by team
Fifteen of the league's 23 teams have appeared at an MLS Cup final, with twelve winning a championship. The LA Galaxy have appeared at and won the MLS Cup the most times, with five championships in nine appearances. The New England Revolution have appeared five times as a finalist, but has yet to win an MLS Cup.
|Wins||Most recent win||Runners-up||Most recent loss|
|New England Revolution||5||0||&
|Sporting Kansas City||3||2||2013||1||2004|
|San Jose Earthquakes||2||2||2003||0||&|
|Columbus Crew SC||2||1||2008||1||2015|
|Real Salt Lake||2||1||2009||1||2013|
|Seattle Sounders FC||2||1||2016||1||2017|
|New York Red Bulls||1||0||&
The MLS Cup was originally hosted by a neutral site selected prior to the season, in a manner similar to the NFL's Super Bowl, from 1996 to 2011. Since the 2012 edition, the match has been hosted by the finalist with the highest regular season standing. Several teams with smaller or inadequate stadiums have also considered using larger American football stadiums to host the MLS Cup, but all post-2012 editions have been played at regular MLS venues. The move towards a non-neutral venue was deemed a risk due to the cold November and December weather in some northern cities, as well as the lack of adequate stadiums for some teams.
StubHub Center, previously named the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California, has hosted the MLS Cup the most times of any venue, with six editions between 2003 and 2014. The largest attendance for an MLS Cup final was the 2002 edition at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with 61,316 spectators; the smallest was in 2005 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, with only 21,193 spectators. Only three editions have been hosted outside the United States, all at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada.
|StubHub Center, Carson, California||6||2003, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014|
|Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts||3||1996, 1999, 2002|
|Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.||3||1997, 2000, 2007|
|BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario||3||2010, 2016, 2017|
|MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio||2||2001, 2015|
|Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas||2||2005, 2006|
|Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California||1||1998|
|Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington||1||2009|
|Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas||1||2013|
- Houston Dynamo won the 2006 final 4–3 in a penalty shootout.
- Real Salt Lake won the 2009 final 5–4 in a penalty shootout.
- Sporting Kansas City won the 2013 final 7–6 in a penalty shootout.
- Seattle Sounders FC won the 2016 final 5–4 in a penalty shootout.
- Stadiums are listed by their official name at the time of their latest final.
- Goldberg, Jamie (October 24, 2017). "A guide to the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs: Teams, dates, seeding, format". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Ruthven, Graham (November 5, 2015). "Could MLS-style play-offs work in Europe's top leagues?". The Guardian. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- Goff, Steven (December 5, 2015). "MLS playoff format is an outlier in world soccer — and that's a good thing". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- McCarthy, Kyle (December 3, 2015). "MLS 101: Why is MLS Cup in Columbus?". Fox Sports. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Parker, Graham; Whittall, Richard (December 8, 2014). "MLS Cup: how LA Galaxy crushed dreams of the Revolution". The Guardian. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- Botta, Cristopher (November 26, 2012). "MLS gets home-field advantage". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- Almond, Elliott (October 4, 2012). "San Jose Earthquakes mull stadium options for MLS Cup". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- Goff, Steven (November 26, 2012). "MLS Cup at home comes with risk". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2018.