Major League Soccer is the top men’s professional soccer league according to the United States Soccer Federation. It currently has 27 teams, 24 of which are in the United States. The other three are in Canada. It is considered one of the “Big Six” professional sports leagues in North America and its rising popularity has the league planning to expand to 29 teams by 2023. Here are some of the league’s most popular teams.
1. L.A. Galaxy
The L.A. Galaxy team was founded in 1994 as one of the league’s 10 charter members. It plays in Dignity Health Sports Park, which is located in Carson, California and can seat 27,000 fans. Anschutz Entertainment Group owns the team and Greg Vanney runs the show on the field as Head Coach. It finished in 8th place in the Western Conference in 2021 and 15th overall. The team’s top rivals are the San Jose Earthquakes. The Galaxy is one of the league’s most successful teams as the winners of five MLS Cups and eight Western Conference titles. Additionally, the team has won four Supporters’ Shields, two U.S. Open Cups and one CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.
David Beckham is probably the most high-profile player to ever play for the team, having joined the club in 2007. Other notable players to play for the Galaxy include Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos, Jorge Campos, Ashley Cole and Landon Donovan, who is the club’s all-time leading scorer. The club is estimated to be worth about $480 million, which makes it the second most valuable team in the league. A successful inbound marketing campaign could only boost the club’s popularity.
2. New York City FC
New York City Football Club began in 2013 as the league’s 20th expansion team. The team calls historic Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York its home. The stadium can seat 28,743 fans and the club is owned by City Football Group and Yankee Global Enterprises. Ronny Deila is the current head coach. In 2021, the team finished in 4th place in the Eastern Conference and 8th overall. The club has an estimated worth of over $385 million, making it the seventh most valuable in the league. The team won a conference title in 2019.
3. New York Red Bulls
The New York Red Bulls were founded in 1994 as the New York MetroStars. The team plays in Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey which has a capacity of 25,000. The team is owned by Red Bull GmbH and coached by Gerhard Struber. The club finished in 7th place in the Eastern Conference and 14th overall in 2021. The Red Bulls reached the MLS Cup final in 2008 but lost to the Columbus Crew. The team has won three Supporters’ Shield titles and reached the final of the U.S. Open Cup twice.
4. Seattle Sounders
The Seattle Sounders was founded in 2007 and plays in Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders finished second in the Western Conference and third overall in 2021. The team competed in the North American Soccer League from 1974 to 1983. The club is owned by Adrian Hanauer, the estate of Paul Allen, Drew Carey and 14 Seattle area families. Brian Schmetzer is the head coach.
Its top rivals are the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Sounders have won the U.S. Open Cup four times, the Supporters’ Shield once and the MLS Cup twice. The team has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in all 12 of its seasons and competed in the CONCACAF Champions League five times. It set a new attendance record for each of its first five seasons. The team is one of the most valuable sports franchises in North America. Players of note include top goal scorer Fredy Montero, Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso and Nicolàs Lodeiro.
If you are new to MLS soccer and trying to familiarize yourself with the league then following these popular teams is a good place to start. If you would like to get in on the ground floor, consider cheering for one of the expansion teams coming to the league in 2022 and 2023.