Despite not having a lot of recent achievements, the Los Angeles Galaxy are still the most historically successful MLS team. However, in the beginning years of MLS, DC United was the best franchise. Recently, the Seattle Sounders have been gaining ground on them, despite only starting back in 2009. A rubric was developed to determine which team has been the most historically successful. The points rubric awards progressively more points the further a team went in the playoffs.
16 pts – MLS Cup Champions
8 pts – Reached MLS Cup
4 pts – Reached Conference Finals
2 pts – Reached Conference Semi-Finals
1 pts – Reached First Round of Playoffs
TOP 5 MOST SUCCESSFUL MLS CLUBS
1. Los Angeles Galaxy – 141 pts.
The Galaxy are easily the most successful MLS team, winning 5 MLS Cups and also appearing in 4 other MLS Cup finals. Their last win was in 2014, with their win over the New England Revolution. The team has featured several prominent players including David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
2. D.C. United – 93 pts.
D.C. were the dominant team in the first few years of MLS, winning in 1996, 1997, and 1999. However the team has not been to the MLS Cup final since 2004. Even more worrisome, DC has not even made the playoffs since 2016. The team recently hired Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has head coach.
3. Sporting Kansas City – 78 pts.
Kansas City has only won the MLS Cup twice, in 2013 and 2000. However, the team has consistently qualified for the playoffs. The team has never had any true stars on their team, but have taken a team approach to building their roster instead, behind their long-time head coach Peter Vermes.
4. Columbus Crew – 75 pts.
The Crew are yet another original MLS franchise in the Midwest on this list. They have won the MLS Cup twice, in 2008 and 2020. The team also won the Supporter’s Shield three times, in 2004, 2008, and 2009. The Crew have had steady success throughout the years, reaching the playoffs in the majority of seasons.
5. Seattle Sounders – 69 pts.
The Sounders only joined MLS in 2009, however the franchise has quickly become one of the most successful in the entire league. It won the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019 and reached the finals on two other occasions. Seattle also won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2022.
For the full table of MLS teams ranked and a breakdown of success decade by decade please see: