Major League Soccer or MLS:

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Brief Information

Countries Involved in MLS: United States and Canada Major League Soccer or MLS:

Confederation Aligned: CONCACAF

Founded on: 17th December, 1993

Head Quarters: Fifth Avenue, New York City

Number of Teams: 22 (USA – 19, Canada – 3)

Conferences: Eastern Conference and Western Conference

Domestic Tournaments: US Open Cup and Canadian Championship

Other Tournament: CONCACAF Championship

Current MLS Cup: Seattle Sounders FC (1st Title)

Most Number of MLS Cups: LA Galaxy (5 titles)

Attached Performance based Trophy: Supporters’ Shield

Current Supporters’ Shield Holders: Toronto FC (1st Shield)

Most Number of Supporters’ Shield Holders: D. C. United and LA Galaxy (4 Shields)

Official Website: mlssoccer.com

Introduction

Major League Soccer is a men’s professional soccer league which is played in the United States and was sanctioned by U.S. Soccer, which represents sport’s highest level in both the United States and Canada.

MLS comprises as one of the major professional sports league of the United States and Canada. The league constitutes 22 teams where 19 teams from U.S and 3 teams from Canada takes part in the regular season.

The regular season runs from March to October with each team playing 34 games. The team with the best record in the regular season is awarded with Supporters shield. The postseason includes 12 teams who compete in MLS Cup Playoffs through November and December, climaxing in the championship game, the MLS Cup.

The teams also play in other domestic competitions against other teams from different divisions in the U.S. Open Cup and the Canadian Championship. MLS teams also compete against continental rivals in the CONCACAF Champions League.

History

In 1988, in exchange for FIFA awarding the right to host the 1994 World

Major League Soccer or MLS:Cup, U.S. Soccer promised to establish a Division 1 professional soccer league where Major League Soccer was established in 1993. The first season took place in 1996

with 10 teams in which MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years. The league lost millions of dollars where teams played in mostly American football stadiums and two teams got folded in 2002.

Since then, MLS expanded to 22 teams where owners built soccer specific stadium and now average attendance exceeds that of the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA). After that MLS secured national TV contracts and the league is now profitable.

Teams

Major League Soccer or MLS:

The 22 teams is divided between Eastern and Western Conference. Here each club is allowed to keep 28 players in its first team roster. All the 28 players are eligible for the selection of 18 players game-day squad for the regular season and playoffs.

Since 2005 season, MLS has added many new clubs and during the period of expansion, Los Angeles became the first two-team market, and the league pushed into Canada in 2007. The league expanded from 20 teams to 22 teams in 2017 with the addition of Atlanta and Minnesota.

The league is going to expand in 23 teams with the addition of Los Angeles FC in 2018 and also plans to expand to 24 teams by 2019. The league further plans to expand to 26 teams by the beginning of 2020 season and 28 teams at some later date.

In the history of MLS, 23 different clubs have competed in the league with 11 winning at least one MLS cup and 11 having won at least one Supporters Shield. Six times the same club have won both the trophies in the same year (two clubs have done it twice).

Beginning of 2017 season, teams are aligned as follows:

TeamsCityStadiumJoined

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United FCAtlanta, GerogiaMercedes Benz Stadium2017
Chicago FireBridgeview, IllinoisToyota Parl1998
Columbus Crew SCColumbus, OhioMAPFRE Stadium1996
D.C. UnitedWashington, D.C.Audi Field1996
Montreal ImpactMontreal, QuebecSaputo Stadium2012
New England RevolutionFoxborough, MassachusettsGillette Stadium1996
New York City FCNew York, New YorkYankee Stadium2015
New York Red BullsHarrison, New JerseyRed Bull Arena1996
Orlando City SCOrlando, FloridaOrlando City Stadium2015
Philadelphia UnionChester, PennsylvaniaTalen Energy Stadium2010
Toronto FCToronto, OntarioBMO Field2007

Western Conference

Colorado RapidsCommerce City, ColoradoDick’s Sporting Goods Park1996
FC DallasFrisco, TexasToyota Stadium1996
Houston DynamoHouston, TexasBBVA Compass Stadium2006
LA GalaxyCarson, CaliforniaStubHub Center1996
Minnesota United FCMinneapolis, MinnesotaTCF Bank Stadium2017
Portland TimbersPortland, OregonProvidence Park2011
Real Salt LakeSandy, UtahRio Tinto Stadium2005
San Jose EarthquakesSan Jose, CaliforniaAvaya Stadium1996
Seattle Sounders FCSeattle, WashingtonCenturyLink Field2009
Sporting Kansas CityKansas City, KansasChildren’s Mercy Park1996
Vancouver Whitecaps FCVancouver, British ColumbiaBC Place2011

 

Future Teams
TeamCityStadiumJoining League
Los Angeles FCLos Angeles, CaliforniaBanc of California Stadium2018
MiamiMiami, FloridaMiami MLS Stadium 

 

2019

(pending stadium agreement, not officially awarded)

 

Defunct Teams
TeamsCityStadiumYears Active
Chivas USACarson, CaliforniaStubHub Center2005-2014
Miami FusionFort Lauderdale, FloridaLockhart Stadium1998-2001
Tampa Bay MutinyTampa, FloridaRaymond James Stadium1996-2001

 

Some stadiums are shared facility not a soccer specific stadium.

MLS Competition Format

Major League Soccer’s regular season runs from March to October where teams are divided into Eastern and Western Conference. Teams play 34 games in an unbalanced schedule where 23 matches are played against the teams within the same conference and 11 against the teams of other conference.

Major League Soccer or MLS:

Midway through the season, teams break for the annual All Star game a friendly match between the league’s finest players and a major club from different league. At the end of the league the team with the highest points in the regular season is awarded the Supporters Shield.

The regular season is followed by 12 teams MLS Cup playoffs in November and ending with the MLS Championship final in early December. Where this playoffs format is unlike to some soccer leagues around the world but is similar to other leagues in America. Major League Soccer or MLS:

MLS’s spring to fall schedule clashes the FIFA calendar and with the summertime tournaments such as World Cup and Gold Cup, which causes many players to miss some MLS matches. While MLS has looked into changing into fall to spring format but there are no current plans to do so. If the league changes its schedule then substantial winter break would be necessary due to teams located in harsh winter climate.

Other Competitions

Major League Soccer or MLS:

MLS teams also play in other competitions like the CONCACAF Champions League. In this competition, every year five MLS teams compete against other clubs from CONCACAF region (Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean). As per the spot allocated to the MLS teams, two U.S. based MLS teams qualify based on the regular season results (the winner of Western Conference and the winner of Eastern Conference). The third U.S. team to qualify is the winner of MLS Cup.

A fourth U.S. based MLS team can qualify via the U.S. Open Cup where U.S. based teams compete against lower division U.S. clubs. If a team qualifies through multiple berths, or if any of the MLS berths are taken by Canada based MLS team then the berth is reallocated to the best U.S. based team in the Supporters’ Shield table which has failed to qualify. Canadian MLS clubs play against lower division Canadian clubs in the Canadian Championship for the one Champions League spot which is allocated to Canada.

No MLS clubs have won the CONCACAF Champions League since the beginning of its current format in 2008. Mexican clubs have dominated the competition but MLS teams have twice reached the finals (Real Salt Lake in 2011 and Montreal Impact in 2015).

League Championships

Teams with total number MLS Cups and Supporters Shield:

TeamsMLS CupsYearsSupporters ShieldYears
LA Galaxy52002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 201441998, 2002, 2010, 2011
D.C. United41996, 1997, 1999, 200441997, 1999, 2006, 2007
San Jose Earthquakes22001, 200322005, 2012
Sporting Kansas City22000, 201312000
Houston Dynamo22006, 2007
Columbus Crew SC1200832004, 2008, 2009
Chicago Fire1199812003
Seattle Sounders FC1201612014
Real Salt Lake12009
Colorado Rapids12010
Portland Timbers12015
New York Red Bulls22013, 2015
Tampa Bay Mutiny11996
Miami Fusion12001
FC Dallas12016
Toronto FC12017

 

Numbers are as per date 27 October 2017.

Player Records

As of October 23, 2017 here are the top 10 player records:

Goals

RankPlayerYearsGoals
1Landon Donovan2001-2004, 2016145
2Jeff Cunningham1998-2011134
Chris Wondolowski2005-present134
4Jaime Moreno1996-2010133
5Ante Razov1996-2000, 2001-2009114
6Jason Kreis1996-2007108
7Dwayne De Rosario2001-2004104
8Taylor Twellman2002-2010101
8Edson Buddle2001-2010, 2012-2015100
10Kei Kamara2006-2013, 2015-present98

 

Assists

RankPlayerYearsAssists
1Landon Donovan2001-2004, 2016136
2Steve Ralston1996-2010135
3Brad Davis2002-2016123
4Carlos Valderrama1996-2002114
5Preki1996-2005112
6Jaime Moreno1996-2010102
7Marco Etcheverry1996-2003101
8Cobi Jones1996-200791
9Andy Williams1998-201186
10Sacha Kljestan2006-2010, 2015-present84

 

Games Played

RankPlayerYearsGames
1Nick Rimando2000-present452
2Kyle Beckerman2000-present432
3Kevin Hartman1997-2003416
4Brad Davis2002-2016392
5Steve Ralston1996-2010378
6Brian Carroll2003-2017371
Chad Marshall2004-present371
8Bobby Boswell2005-present366
9Jeff Cunningham1998-2011365
10Drew Moor2005-present361

 

Player Records (Active)

Numbers listed below is as per 23 October 2017

Goals

RankPlayerGoals
1Chris Wondolowski134
2Kei Kamara98
3Bradley Wright-Phillips86
4Clint Dempsey71
5Chris Rolfe64

 

Assists

RankPlayerAssists
1Sacha Kljestan84
2Javier Morales83
3Graham Zusi56
4Diego Valeri53
5

 

Dax McCarty51
Mauro Rosales51

 

Games Played

RankPlayerGames
1Nick Rimando452
2Kyle Beckerman432
3Chad Marshall371
4Bobby Boswell366
5Drew Moor362

 

The rivalries in MLS has been turned into Rivalry Cups and the information about the rivalry cups is given below in this link:

Major League Soccer (MLS) Rivalry Cups:

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