MLS is celebrating its 21st year of existence this season as the league continues to produce thrilling action on the pitch.
Despite its slow start, the league has grown over the years and will be taking even more steps in the near future with the addition of four more clubs.
In the past 21 years, the clubs in the MLS have done what they can to field winning teams and star players. This effort has allowed the league to expand its reach and attract more and more international recognition. From the arrival of Thierry Henry to the newly acquired Andrea Pirlo, the league is starting to see an influx of top European players.
There have been 23 clubs in the history of the league, and each franchise has contributed to the development of the game in the U.S. They have been home to top drawer players and winning teams that have inspired generations. As we head into another expansion period, we take a look back at all the franchises in MLS history, the history that they have produced for the league, and rank them based on win totals.
Here are the winningest franchises in MLS history, thorugh the end of the 2015 season (article will be updated aftre the season):
Apr 10, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC players pose for a photo before the match against the Chicago Fire at Yankee Stadium. NYCFC and Chicago played to a 0-0 tie. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 23 – New York City F.C.
Year Founded: May 21, 2013
Stadiums: Yankee Stadium
Overall Record: 10-7-17
One of the newest additions to the league came last season when New York City F.C. made their debut in the MLS. Manchester City and the New York Yankees paid the $100 Million expansion fee to officialy unveil New York’s second team. In their first season, they failed to make the playoffs but in 2016 the club is right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
All-Time Goal Scorers: David Villa (2015-Current) 34 Goals, Thomas McNamara (2015-Current) 9 Goals, Frank Lampard (2015-Current) 9 Goals
Most Appearances Made: David Villa (2015-Current) 55 Appearances
NYCFC had some star-studded signings right off the bat. David Villa and Frank Lampard were two of the big time players scheduled to play for the club in their first season. Villa has had the more successful campaign at the moment as he has scored 34 goals in the past two seasons. In addition, the club signed Andrea Pirlo last summer to add another world class player to their roster. He has produced nine assists for the club this season.
ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 3: Kaka #10, Rafael Ramos #27, and Tommy Redding #29 of Orlando City SC celebrate after the opening goal against the Portland Timbers at the Citrus Bowl on April 3, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Chris McEniry/Overflow Productions, Inc./Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 22 – Orlando City SC
Year Founded: November 19th, 2013
Stadium: Camping World Stadium
Overall Record: 12-8-14
Orlando City SC was the second club to join the MLS in 2015. The former USL team became the first Florida-based MLS franchise since the Fusion. They failed to make it to the playoffs in 2015, but are in the hunt for a playoff spot at the moment, as they try and qualify for the postseason for the first time.
Most Appearances Made: Cyle Larin (2015-Current) 50 Appearances
Orlando City’s first ever designated player was none other than Brazilian star Kaka. The midfielder has scored 13 goals for the club in its first two seasons. Canadian striker Cyle Larin has turned into a fan favorite as the young star earned MLS Rookie of the Year honors in the 2015 season. He scored 17 goals in his first season and is on pace to set an even higher mark this year.
01 Aug 2001: The Miami Fusion starters pose for a photo before the match against the D.C. United at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Miami rally for a 2-2 draw with D.C. United. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Tony Quinn/ MLS/ALLSPORT
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 21 – Miami Fusion
Year Founded: 1997
Stadium: Lockhart Stadium
Overall Record: 56-56-10
Championships: Supporters Shield Winners (2001)
The Miami Fusion enjoyed a brief stint in the MLS that lasted a short four seasons. Their demise came after the 2001 season, as the league decided to withdraw the club from the league due to financial issues. The 2001 season proved to be their best year with a Supporters Shield trophy being clinched at the end of the season. They finished with an impressive record of 16-5-5 that year.
All-Time Goal Scorers: Diego Serna (1998-2001) 52 Goals, Alex Pineda Chacon (2001) 19 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Pablo Mastroeni (1998-2001) 100 Appearances, Diego Serna (1998-2001) 100 Appearances
In their short time as a club the Fusion had some very successful players come through the club. Diego Serna scored an impressive 52 goals in 100 appearances and Alex Pineda Chacon was the league MVP and leading goal scorer in 2001.
Carlos Valderrama will most likely be remembered for his hair, but he also was a fantastic player for the Fusion. He recorded 12 assists in the 1998 season. Current Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando got his career started with the club in the 2000 and 2001 season, which included seven clean sheet performances.
Jun 25, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti (10) celebrates with teammate forward Didier Drogba (11) after scoring a goal against Sporting Kansas City during the first half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 20 – Montreal Impact
Year Founded: 2010
Stadiums: Saputo Stadium
Overall Record: 47-29-60
Championships: Canadian Champions (2013, 2014)
The Montreal Impact are one of the newer additions to the league with the club only in its fifth season in the MLS. They have had success domestically in Canada with two Canadian Championships, which have allowed them to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League. They advanced all the way to the CCL Final in 2015 but came up short against Club America.
Last year was their most successful season in the MLS as they reached the Conference Semifinal. They also reached the playoffs in 2013 when they were knocked out in the first round.
All-Time Leading Goal Scorers: Marco Di Vaio (2012-2014) 40 Goals, Ignacio Piatti (2014-Present) 29 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Patrice Bernier (2012-Current) 142 Appearances
Arguably the most famous player to play for the club is Didier Drogba. The former Chelsea forward was signed by the club in 2015 and was an instant hit in the MLS. He’s produced 21 goals for the club so far.
Marco Di Vaio became the Impact’s all-time goal scorer as he finished his storied career in Montreal. His years of experience in European football showed their worth in the goal column, with a strong run of form with the club.
Aug 26, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; The Vancouver Whitecaps celebrate the win over the Montreal Impact during the second half at BC Place. The Vancouver Whitecaps won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 19 – Vancouver Whitecaps
Year Founded: 1974
Stadium: BC Place
Overall Record: 58-48-64
Championships: Canadian Championship (2015)
The Vancouver Whitecaps have a rich history in Western Canada as the club is still owned by the same ownership group that started the franchise. It hasn’t been a bad start for the club’s journey in the MLS. They became the first Canadian club to qualify for the MLS playoffs in 2012 and were Canadian Champions last year. Their best regular season was in 2015 when they finished with a record of 16-5-13.
All-Time Goal Scorers: Camilo (2011-2013) 43 Goals, Pedro Morales (2014-Current)
Most Appearances Made: Jordan Harvey (2011-Current) 160 Appearances
Camilo was a key player for the Whitecaps in their first three seasons in the league. He scored 39 goals in 92 MLS appearances to lead his side in the goal scoring department. Pedro Morales is a player who has arrived on the scene more recently, as he has produced 26 goals in three seasons for the club.
Jordan Harvey has been a mainstay in the Whitecaps defense. The American defender has been with the club for the entirety of their MLS playing days and is a key component on the back line. Eric Hassli is another player worth noting. His stunning goal in 2011 garnered international attention for the Whitecaps and the MLS. It might just be the greatest goal scored in MLS history.
21 Jul 2001: Carlos Valderrama #10 of the Colorado Rapids dribbles against the defense of the Tampa Bay Mutiny at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Rapids won 2-1 over the Mutiny. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/ALLSPORT
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 18 – Tampa Bay Mutiny
Year Founded: 1995
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
Overall Record: 83-6-98
Championships: Supporters Shield Winners (1996)
The Tampa Mutiny joined the Miami Fusion as the second club to be folded in 2002. It was a combination of low attendance and revenue that dealt the franchise an exit from the league. Despite their short existence, they did manage to win the Supporters Shield in 1996, which included a 20 win season. They reached the playoffs four out of the six seasons they participated in.
Most Appearances Made: Steve Ralston (1996-2001) 177 Appearances
Carlos Valderrama was one of the early players to make an impact on the club. He claimed MVP honors in the 1996 season and was also an MLS Best XI and All-Star selection. Mamadou Diallo took the league by storm in 2000 scoring 26 goals to earn the leagues Golden Boot award. Roy Lassiter did the Senegalese forward one better in 1996 scoring 27 goals in the season; he went down as the franchises all-time goal scorer.
Steve Ralston began his long MLS career for the Mutiny and he was the clubs draft pick in 1996 and made 177 appearances in his career with the team. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1996 and scored seven goals. He was a prolific midfield player and recorded 65 of his eventual 135 career assists while playing for the Mutiny.
FRISCO, TX – NOVEMBER 29: Diego Valeri #8 of Portland Timbers raises the MLS Western Conference trophy after defeating FC Dallas in the Western Conference Finals-Leg 2 of the MLS playoffs at Toyota Stadium on November 29, 2015 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 17 – Portland Timbers
Year Founded: 2009
Stadium: Providence Park
Overall Record: 60-63-63
Championships: 2015 MLS Cup Champions
The Portland Timbers have become one of the leagues most popular clubs in their short time of existence in MLS. Electric fans are always present at Providence Park and create a vibrant atmosphere for the matches. Last season the club claimed its first ever MLS Cup title by defeating the Columbus Crew in the final. It gave them redemption from the 2013 season where they had the best regular season finish as the top club in the Western Conference but failed to win it all.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Fanendo Adi (2014-Current) 39 Goals, Diego Valeri (2013-Current) 38 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Darlington Nagbe (2011-Current) 200 Appearances
Despite not having any major star power the club has accomplished a lot. Diego Valeri has been a key part of the club over the past few seasons, and he is having another fantastic season this year. He has the club record for most assists and is closing in on the all-time leading goal scorer spot. Fanendo Adi currently holds the leading scorer position and has already scored 12 goals this season.
Darlington Nagbe has spent his entire MLS career with the Timbers and has been a vital player for them in midfield. He has also made some appearances for the U.S. men’s national team. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts spent three seasons with the club and had 23 clean sheets. He is in multiple top 10 all-time stat categories in MLS record books.
CHESTER, PA – MARCH 02: Sebastian Le Toux #11 of Philadelphia Union reacts after scoring a goal in the first half of the MLS game against the Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park on March 2, 2013 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 16 – Philadelphia Union
Year Founded: February 28th, 2008
Stadium: Talen Energy Stadium
Overall Record: 61-57-82
The Philadelphia Union were added as an expansion club in 2008, making their debut in the 2010 season. It hasn’t been the best of times for the club in recent seasons but they have reached the U.S. Open Cup final twice. Their best season came in 2011 when they finished with a record of 11-8-15 in the regular season. They lost in the conference semifinals that year to record their best finish ever in the playoffs.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Sebastian Le Toux (2010-2011;2013-2016) 50 Goals, Jack McInerney (2010-2015) 25 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Sebastian Le Toux (2010-2011;2013-2016) 175 Appearances
The Union didn’t start out with a star-studded squad like some clubs have, but over the years they’ve accumulated some great talent. Last summer the club signed Swiss midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta, who has become a main part of the Union midfielder. Recently signed Alejandro Bedoya was a recent signing that should help the club continue to grow.
Sebastian Le Toux led the club in goal scoring for multiple seasons, and as a result became their all-time leading goal scorer. Until his recent departure, the Frenchman was a potent goal-scoring threat for the Union. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath had some good performances in net for the club, as he holds the club record in multiple stat categories, including clean sheets and saves made.
TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: Sebastian Giovinco #10 of Toronto FC is presented with the MLS Audi Golden Boot Award as leading scorer for the 2015 season prior to an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 15 – Toronto FC
Year Founded: 2005
Stadium: BMO Field (2007-Current)
Overall Record: 77-78-135
Championships: 5x Canadian Champions (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016)
Toronto F.C. have found their success domestically with five Canadian Championships to their name. As a result, the club has been able to participate in numerous CONCACAF Champions League competitions. In the MLS, however, the club has had a hard time finding their rhythm. Their best finish was last year when they made it to the playoffs for the first time in club history. In the current 2016 season, the club is in a position to make it back to the playoffs, and potentially take the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
All-Time Goal Scorers: Sebastian Giovinco (2015-Current) 40 Goals, Dwayne De Rosario (2009-2011;2014) 33 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Ashtone Morgan (2011-Current) 123 Appearances
Sebastian Giovinco has been a breath of fresh air for the club since his arrival in 2015. The Italian broke the MLS single-season points record in his first season for the club and won the MLS MVP award. This season he is once again proving to be the best player in the league. His dazzling goals have made him a fan favorite and a great addition to the league overall.
Dwayne De Rosario finished his MLS career in Toronto in 2014, as the Ontario native scored 33 goals for the club in the four seasons he played for them. In recent times the addition of Jozy Altidore has seen a resurgence in the clubs attacking options. The American forward is currently in fine form and was acquired in 2015 from Sunderland.
When Altidore was acquired, Jermaine Defoe was also involved in the deal, as the Englishman was sent back to England after spending the 2014 season with the club. He scored 12 goals that season and was a big signing for the club and league that year.
Michael Bradley got fans excited in the 2014 season when the American International was acquired from AS Roma. His midfield presence was a key part in the clubs resurgence last year and is still currently a member of the club.
LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 31: Erick Torres (9) of Chivas USA looks to cross the ball in the second half at StubHub Center on May 31, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 14 – Chivas USA
Year Founded: 2004
Stadium: StubHub Center
Overall Record: 92-79-149
It was a rough ten seasons in the MLS for Chivas USA. The club was affiliated with Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara and was added as the league’s then-eleventh team. They never managed to make it past the Western Conference semifinals as they lost four straight years in the semis. In 2007 they managed to finish in first place in the Western Conference.
In the final five years of the clubs history, they only were able to win 39 matches combined. Their average attendance was less than 10,000 as well as they struggled to fill the seats. The franchise was purchased at the end of 2014 and will operate as the Los Angeles Football Club in the future.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Ante Razov (2006-2009) 30 goals, Erick Torres (2013-2014) 22 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Dan Kennedy (2008-2014) 144 Appearances
Ante Razov picked up right where left off in Chicago by scoring 30 goals in four seasons for Chivas USA. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy had a long career in Los Angeles and recorded 38 clean sheets while playing for the club.
Other notable players include Erick “Cubo” Torres who is now a member of the Houston Dynamo. The forward had two tremendous offensive seasons and was named to the 2014 all-star team. Sacha Kljestan and Brad Guzan also had stints at the club as they went on to play in Europe. Guzan was the U.S. number one in net at this year’s Copa America for the United States.
Members of the Seattle Sounders FC hold US Open Cup trophies. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 13 – Seattle Sounders
Year Founded: November 13th, 2007
Stadium: CenturyLink Field
Overall Record: 109-54-67
Championships: 4x U.S. Open Cup Champions, Supporters Shield Winner (2014)
The Seattle Sounders have been kings of the U.S. Open Cup in the past decade, winning the trophy four times in a six-year span. In 2009 the club became the first MLS expansion team to win the trophy in their first season. A Supporters Shield win in 2014 capped off an impressive regular season that saw the club win 20 matches. They also produced a team record 65 goals in that season.
Most Appearances Made: Osvaldo Alonso (2009-2016) 217 Appearances
In 2013, the Sounders completed the largest MLS transfer at the time with the $9 Million signing of Clint Dempsey. The American superstar has now been a member of the squad for four seasons, as he continues to be an active member of the U.S. national team. He’s scored 34 goals in 72 MLS appearances.
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller had a solid career for the Sounders as the clubs net-minder. He recorded 30 clean sheets in 93 appearances. The American finished with 1.06 goals against average in his MLS career, which ranks second all-time in the league.
Fredy Montero was an offensive machine for the Sounders in his four seasons with the club. He scored ten goals or more in every season played. Obafemi Martins was also a threat up top as the Nigerian forward scored 32 goals combined in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Former Arsenal man Freddie Ljungberg enjoyed a brief stint with the club that saw him play in 39 matches. He has been the most internationally known player to be signed by the club. Chad Marshall has been a solid player on defense as he won the MLS Defender of the Year award in 2014.
HOUSTON – JULY 10: Forward Brian Ching #25 of the Houston Dynamo smiles after missing a goal at close range on a put back in the second half against the Columbus Crew at Robertson Stadium at on July 10, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 12 – Houston Dynamo
Championships: 2X MLS Cup Champions (2006 and 2007)
It only took the Houston Dynamo one season to leave an impact on the MLS. Their inaugural season in the league ended with an MLS Cup victory in a penalty shootout against the New England Revolution. The following year they were once again victorious as they repeated as MLS Champions. It’s been a fantastic start for the franchise with two runner-up finishes in the last six years as well.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Brian Ching (2006-2013) 56 Goals, Will Bruin (2011-Current) 50 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Brad Davis (2006-2015) 271 Appearances
Brian Ching is undoubtedly the Dynamo faithful most beloved player as the American forward turned in fantastic performances year after year. He led the club in goal scoring for six straight seasons, including the title runs in 2006 and 2007.
Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron played four seasons for the Dynamo and left as perhaps the club’s best defender to date. Midfielder Brad Davis left his mark on the club and was a member of the club’s two championships teams.
SEATTLE – NOVEMBER 22: Kyle Beckerman #5 of Real Salt Lake kisses the The Philip F. Anschutz MLS Cup trophy as he and his teammates celebrate their win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup final at Qwest Field on November 22, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. Real Salt Lake won 5-4 in a penalty shootout following regulation time. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 11 – Real Salt Lake
Stadium: Rice-Eccles Stadium (2005-2008), Rio Tinto Stadium (2008-Current)
Overall Record: 131-92-131
Championships: 2009 MLS Cup Champions
After a slow start to their first three seasons Real Salt Lake were able to capture their first MLS title in 2009. It wasn’t their best season overall on paper, but they were able to defeat the Galaxy in a shootout to win it all.
The following year they became the first MLS club to make it to the CONCACAF Champions League final, as they fell to Monterrey 3-2 on aggregate. Since then the club has yet to win a major title, but they did finish runner-up in both the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in 2013.
Most Appearances Made: Nick Rimando (2007-Current) 271 Appearances
The first player that comes to mind when most fans think of RSL is Nick Rimando. He’s been a member of the club for ten seasons now and has an impressive 91 clean sheets in 271 appearances. When he retires, he will undoubtedly go down as the clubs greatest player thus far.
Offensively the club relied on Costa Rican forward Alvaro Saborio to produce goals up front for six seasons. In 2010 he won the MLS Newcomer of the Year award with a 12 goal season. Another offensive threat over the years has been Javier Morales. The veteran has been named to two MLS All-Star teams and has been the club’s star player for numerous seasons.
Championships: 2x MLS Cup Champions (2001,2003), Supporter Shield Winners (2005,2012)
The San Jose Earthquakes originally started out as the San Jose Clash, with the name of the club changing at the end of the 1999 season. In 2001 they claimed their first MLS Cup win, as they pulled off the biggest regular season turnaround in league history coming from 29 points in 2000 to 45 in 2001. Two years later they were kings of the league once again. A 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire in the final allowed them to win the second title in club history.
In addition to the two MLS Cup victories, the Earthquakes have won two Supporter Shields in 2005 and 2012. Both of those years were the best regular seasons on paper for the club. In 2012 they had finished with 66 points and scored a total of 72 goals, which were both club records.
All-Time Goal Scorers: Chris Wondolowski (2005;2009-Present), Ronald Cerritos (1997-2001;2005)
Most Appearances Made: Ramiro Corrales (1996-1997;2001-2004);2008-2013) 250 Appearances
Chris Wondolowski has been the face of the Earthquakes for some time now as the American forward is one of the more prolific goal scorers in the league. His single season goal record of 27 goals in 2012 highlights one of his many double digit goal seasons for the Earthquakes.
The club has seen a number of quality goalkeepers over the years. Joe Cannon, Jon Busch, and Pat Onstad are three keepers that have all had over 25 clean sheets in their time in San Jose. Landon Donovan is another player worth mentioning as he was an instrumental part in the clubs 2001 MLS Cup success. He played on loan from Bayer Leverkusen at the time.
6 Oct 1999: Matt McKeon #2 of the Colorado Rapids controls the ball during the game against the Chicago Fire at the Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Fire defeated the Rapids 1-0.
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 9 – Colorado Rapids
Year Founded: October 17th, 1995
Stadiums: Mile High Stadium (1996-2001), Invesco Field (2002-2006), Dicks Sporting Goods Park (2007-present)
Overall Record: 233-125-270
Championships: 2010 MLS Cup Champions
The Colorado Rapids were one of the original clubs to play in the inaugural season of the MLS. They won their first trophy of any kind in 2010 when they defeated F.C. Dallas 2-1 in a comeback win. Their championship winning season wasn’t their best regular season on paper, as their best record came in the 1999 season when they went 20-12.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Conor Casey (2007-2012) 50 Goals, Paul Bravo (1997-2001) 39 Goals.
Most Appearances Made: Pablo Masteroeni (2002-2013) 225 Appearances
Current head coach Pablo Masteroeni had a storied career in Colorado, as he became a fan favorite for his many years with the club. Conor Casey’s goals were a big part of the clubs offensive success throughout the years, including a 16 goal season in 2009.
John Spencer was another offensive weapon for the Rapids with two 14 goal seasons in 2001 and 2003. Paul Bravo recorded seven multi-goal matches in his career to go down as number two on the all-time scorer list. In net Matt Pickens,have, Clint Irwin, and Joe Cannon all amassed over 25 clean sheets each in their careers. The recent addition of goalkeeper Tim Howard is proving to be one of the clubs best moves.
FOXBOROUGH, MA – JUNE 7: Taylor Twellman #20 of the New England Revolution celebrates his 100th career goal with Shalrie Joseph #21 during match against the New York Red Bulls June 7, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Keith Nordstrom/MLS via Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 8 – New England Revolution
It has been a franchise of runner-up finishes for the New England Revolution. The club has finished runner-up in the MLS Cup five times in 20 years. A U.S. Open Cup win in 2007 was the first time the club won a major trophy with a victory over F.C. Dallas. Their best regular season tally was in 2005 when they finished with a record of 17-7-8.
All-Time Goal Scorers: Taylor Twellman (2002-2010) 101 Goals, Lee Nguyen (2012-Current) 39 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Shalrie Joesph (2003-2012) 261 Appearances
The New England Revolution are one the oldest clubs in the league and as a result the fans have seen plenty of talent over the years. One of those talented players was Taylor Twellman. The Minnesota native scored 101 goals for the club in the nine seasons he played for them. He was a five-time MLS all-star and won the league’s MVP award in 2005.
There have been quite a few players that have spent a majority of their career in the Revolution uniform. Shalrie Joesph, Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, and Steve Ralston are some of those players that left an impact on the club with long careers. Ralston played a vital role in the clubs success in the 2002-2007 seasons.
A young Clint Dempsey called Gillette Stadium home for three seasons as the star player was drafted by the club in 2004. During his time with the Revolution, he scored 25 goals and won Rookie of the Year honors in his first year in the squad.
Chicago Fire celebrates – Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 7 – Chicago Fire
Year Founded: October 8,1997
Stadiums: Soldier Field (1998-2001) (2003-2005), Cardinal Stadium (2002-2003), Toyota Park (2006-Present)
Overall Record: 230-135-200
Championships: 1998 MLS Cup Champions, 4x U.S. Open Cup Champions
The Chicago Fire were one of the first expansion clubs to take part in the MLS’s first seasons. They in fact won the MLS Cup in 1998. It was their best season on paper when they came out on top in a club record 20 matches in the regular season. In addition, they became the first American club to win both the league championship and U.S. Open Cup.
A total of four U.S. Open Cup wins has been one of the club’s greatest achievements in its history, as they have appeared in three CONCACAF Champions Leagues as a result. More recently the club has been struggling, as they have failed to qualify for the postseason for three years in a row.
All-Time Leading Scorers (All Competitions): Ante Razov (1998-2004) 95 Goals, Chris Rolfe (2005-2009;2012-2014) 55 Goals
Most Appearances Made: C.J. Brown (1998-2010) 372 Appearances
This club has a long history of this club, and they have seen their fair share of talent over the years. C.J. Brown made the most appearances for the club with an astounding 372 appearances over 13 seasons. Chris Armas is another player that spent most of his career playing for the Fire, he played in 272 matches while in the Windy City.
Offensively, the club has Ante Razov as their all-time scoring leader. His 95 goals in all competitions saw him record five double-digit goal seasons and five Chicago Fire Golden Boot Awards. Chris Rolfe scored 55 goals in almost ten years of service for the club as well.
Some other notable players to come through the club have been Carlos Bocanegra, Cuahtemoc Blanco, DeMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride, and Zach Thornton.
The New York Red Bulls originally started playing under the names the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and just the MetroStars. In 2006 the name switched to the Red Bulls when the energy drink company purchased the club.
Despite not winning any MLS Cup Championships yet, the club has only failed to make the postseason four times. More recently they have found success in the 2013 and 2015 seasons, winning the Supporters Shield, and finishing with a combined record of 35-19-14 in those two campaigns.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Bradley Wright-Phillips (2013-Current) 66 Goals, Juan Pablo Angel (2007-2010) 62 Goals.
Most Appearances Made: Mike Petke (1998-2002;2009-2010)
In 2010 the Red Bulls signed the clubs most famous player as Arsenal great Thierry Henry joined the club. The Frenchman scored 52 goals in five seasons played. That same year they signed Mexican international Rafael Marquez, who spent three years in New York.
Recently Bradley Wright-Phillips has set the all-time goals record for the club, as he continues to find the back of the net. In 2014 he scored a whopping 27 goals. Juan Pablo Angel was another notable goal scorer to come through the club. The former Aston Villa man scored 62 goals in four seasons.
Championships: 2x MLS Cup Champions (2000,2013), Supporters Shield Winners (2000), 3x U.S. Open Cup Champions (2004,2012, 2015)
Sporting Kansas City started their franchise under the name Kansas City Wizards. The name change came in 2011. In 2000, they won their first MLS Cup after a fantastic regular season that saw them win their only Supporter Shield. It was 2004 that the first U.S. Open Cup was won, they would have to wait eight years to see the next major trophy, which proved to be another Open Cup victory.
In 2013, the club won its first MLS Cup under the name Sporting Kansas City. They defeated Real Salt Lake in a penalty shootout to win it all. Just last year they added a third U.S. Open Cup to the trophy case.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Preki (1996-2000;2002-2005) 71 Goals, Dom Dwyer (2012-Current) 58 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Davy Arnaud (2002-2011) 271 Appearances
Preki had a storied career for Kansas City as a two-time league MVP and the clubs all-time goAlso, he was a member of the MLS Cup winning team in 2000. Peter Vermes was also a member of the championship winning team and was MLS Defender of the Year in 2000.
More recently the club has had a group of fantastic players. Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, and Matt Belser are some of the players that have stood out for the club in the past few seasons. Dwyer is a potent striker up top and Zusi has been fantastic in the midfield. The defender Besler is a mainstay on the squad and has been a member of the U.S. national team in past international competitions.
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 23: Jaime Moreno #99 of D.C. United dribbles the ball during the game against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Toronto defeated DC 3-2. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 4 – DC United
Year Founded: 1995
Stadiums: RFK Stadium
Overall Record: 265-114-241
Championships: 4X MLS Cup Winners (1996, 1997, 1999, 2004), 4x Supported Shield Winners (1997, 1999, 2006, 2007) 3x U.S. Open Cup Champions (1996, 2008,2013)
D.C. United was the best club in the first ten years of the league, as they amassed a lot of titles in a short period of time. They captured all four of their MLS Cup wins in just nine seasons. During that run, they had three seasons with 20 wins or more, which stretched from 1997 to 1999. In more recent, the times the club has yet to win an MLS Cup, but they have recorded two U.S. Open Cup Wins in 2008 and 2013.
All-Time Leading Goal Scorers: Jamie Moreno (1996-2002;2004-2010) 162 Goals, Christian Gomez (2004-2007:2009) 61 Goals
Most Appearances Made: Jamie Moreno (1996-2002;2004-2010) 379 Appearances
Jamie Moreno has undoubtedly been the more popular face of the club over the years. His long career in the nations capital was filled with great moments, including a Golden Boot Award in 1997 and a five-time member of the MLS Best XI. Ben Olsen also joins Moreno at the top of the list, as he spent his entire career with the club. The current manager was a fan favorite appearing 221 times and scoring 34 goals.
Marco Etcheverry was a player that shined in seven seasons for the club. He was a four-time MLS Best XI and was the MVP in 1998. Christian Gomez had an impressive time in D.C. as well, with 61 goals scored in 124 match appearances. Defensively, Eddie Pope and Bobby Boswell earned MLS Defender of the Year honors in 1997 and 2006.
FC Dallas’ players celebrate Carlos Ruiz’s goal during the game with the New England Revolution at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas on May 20, 2006. Dallas won the game 4-0. (Photo by Larry Scott Wambsganss/MLS)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 3 – FC Dallas
Year Founded: June 6th, 1995
Stadiums: Cotton Bowl (1996-2002;2004-2005), Dragon Stadium (2003), Toyota Stadium (2005-present)
Overall Record: 227-104-226
Championships: U.S. Open Cup (1997)
F.C. Dallas played under the name Dallas Burn for the clubs first few seasons with the name switch coming in 2005. During that time the Burn were able to record the clubs only trophy to date in 1997. They were victorious in the U.S. Open Cup against D.C. United. Since then the club has struggled to win any trophies of value, as they have yet to win an MLS Cup. In 1999 they recorded 19 wins to record their best regular season points wise. Last year they also had an impressive regular season by finishing first in the Western Conference standings.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Kenny Cooper Jr. (2006-2009;2013) 49 Goals, Blas Perez (2012-2015)
Most Appearances Made: Zach Loyd (2010-Current) 207 Appearances
When it comes to great players at F.C. Dallas, a look at some of the recent names will reveal some of the top talents to come through the club. One of those players was Fabian Castillo; the Colombian scored 39 matches in 181 matches played.
Carlos Ruiz, Jason Kries, and Jeff Cunningham were three offensive weapons that spent time in Dallas. Kries ranks sixth in the all-time league goal scorers list. Ruiz had 39 goals in 78 matches in three seasons for the club.
19 May 1996: Brian McBride of the Columbus Crew high fives the fan as he walks off the field after a game against the Colorado Rapids at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Rapids won the game 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 2 – Columbus Crew
Championships: 2008 MLS Cup Champions, 2002 U.S. Open Cup Champions, 3x Supporters Shield Winners (2004, 2008, and 2009)
The longtime Ohio club has had some great moments in the MLS. Their 2008 MLS Cup Championship run included the Supporters Shield and three player and coach awards for their incredible season. In 1999 they had their best regular season with 19 wins in 32 matches played. They captured their first ever U.S. Open Cup title in 2002 by defeating the L.A. Galaxy 1-0, which was the clubs first ever championship.
All-Time Leading Scorers: Jeff Cunningham (1998-2004;2011) 64 Goals, Brian McBride (1996-2003)
Most Appearances Made: Chad Marshall (2004-2013) 264 Appearances
The Crew has had many offensive weapons over the years. One of those players was Brian McBride who scored 62 goals in 161 appearances for the club. Jeff Cunningham just edged out the American forward for the all-time leading scorer spot with 64; he had numerous season with ten goals or more.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto is named most fans won’t forget anytime soon. The Argentine forward scored seven goals and had 19 assists to earn the 2008 league MVP award. He played a key part in the clubs title run. Another player worth noting is Stern John who had a 26 goal season in 1998. Also, he recorded 57 points and three hat-tricks in that fantastic run of form.
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 07: (L-R) Juninho #19, Head Coach Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan #10, Marcelo Sarvas #8 and Robbie Keane #7 of the Los Angeles Galaxy celebrate on the podium with the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy after the Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 in the 2014 MLS Cup at StubHub Center on December 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Winningest Franchises in MLS History: Number 1 – LA Galaxy
Year Founded: 1995
Stadiums: Rose Bowl (1996-2002), StubHub Center (2003-Current)
Overall Record: 295-123-210
Championships: 5x MLS Cup Champions (2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014), 4x Supporter Shield Winners, 2X U.S. Open Cup Champions (2001, 2005) 1x CONCACAF Champions League Cup (2000)
The L.A. Galaxy are perhaps the most well-known MLS franchise. Their five MLS Cup wins speak for themselves, as they have also claimed two U.S. Open Cup trophies as well. They have won more MLS Cup titles than any other franchise in the MLS.
One of the best seasons came in 2005 when the Galaxy won both the U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup titles in the same year. It wasn’t their best regular season, but they won when it counted the most. In 2002 and 2011 the club won the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup in the same season, and the list goes on and on with accomplishments.
Most Appearances Made: Cobi Jones (1996-2007) 306 Appearances
L.A. has been a hot spot for top talent in the recent years. Perhaps the most famous player to ever play in the MLS wore the Galaxy’s kit. David Beckham made international headlines when he decided to make the move to America. His up and down career with the Galaxy ended on a high note as a member of the 2012 MLS Cup winning team.
Landon Donovan has been the poster boy for the Galaxy’s franchise over the years. He is the all-time MLS leading goal scorer and assists leader. Also, he won four MLS Cups during his time at the club.
Cobi Jones has the most appearances in the clubs history as the midfielder saw his jersey become the first to be retired in MLS history. Among other accomplishments, he was named to the MLS Best XI team and was the U.S. Soccer Player of the Year. In 2011 he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
More recently top class players such as Giovani Dos Santos, Steven Gerrard, and Robbie Keane have called the club home. Keane has already become one of the clubs best offensive players and has produced many top drawer goals.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – July 30: Frank Lampard #8 of New York City FC celebrates with team mate Jack Harrison #11 of New York City FC after scoring his sides first goal past Goalkeeper Tim Howard #1 of Colorado Rapids during the NYCFC Vs Colorado Rapids regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Looking back at the success of these clubs one can see the difference in the opening years of the league compared to the present. In the early years, the league struggled to attract fan bases and unfortunately, there have been clubs lost over the years as a result. However a resurgence in those areas will see soccer make a return soon to places like Miami.
The players and clubs involved in this league have made history as a whole. Taking a league from relative obscurity to a league watched all over the world. Their commitment to the successes of the franchises is what keeps this league going. Hopefully, we continue to see top players joining the league as well as talented homegrown players being developed.
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With that being said, it’s an exciting time to be a fan of MLS, with the league adding top talent every year and more clubs on the way the league could take off into something really special. It still has a long way to go, but it could very well turn into a top league one day with the right ownership and resources behind it.