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MLS

How many teams have won Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup in same season?

After Cincinnati’s exit from the MLS playoffs, yet another Supporters’ Shield winner has failed to make their regular-season form count in the postseason.

After Cincinnati’s exit from the MLS playoffs, yet another Supporters’ Shield winner has failed to make their regular-season form count in the postseason.
JEFF DEANAFP

Cincinnati FC’s bid to join a select club of teams that have done the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double is over, after Pat Noonan’s men were beaten in the Eastern Conference final by fellow Ohioans Columbus Crew.

Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in Saturday’s conference decider at TQL Stadium, but the Crew produced a stunning late comeback to force extra time, before Christian Ramírez’s 115th-minute winner sent Columbus into the MLS Cup final.

How many teams have won Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup double?

Over the course of MLS’ nearly three-decade history, the recipients of the Supporters’ Shield - which is awarded to the league’s top-performing regular-season team - have only infrequently gone on to enjoy playoffs success in the same year.

Indeed, in the 28 seasons that the MLS has been played since its inception in 1996 - including the current campaign - the regular-season champions have achieved postseason glory on only eight occasions.

MLS playoffs made easier for No. 1 seed

That’s despite the fact that the Supporters’ Shield winners are given the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, ensuring that they will have a theoretically easier path towards the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.

Since 2012, the MLS Cup final has been held at the home of the finalist with the higher regular-season ranking - and in the league’s current format, indeed, MLS guarantees home-field advantage to the top seed throughout the postseason.

They host at least two games in round one’s best-of-three series, and all subsequent single-elimination ties are played at their stadium.

Between 1996 and 2002, when the league operated a best-of-three system in every round leading up to the MLS Cup final, the No. 1 seed was likewise assured of at least two games on home turf in each series.

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LAFC are one of just six teams to have done the Supporters' Shield-MLS Cup double.Javier RojasEFE

Which teams have won Supporters’ Shield-MLS Cup double?

In all, just six teams have managed the Supporters’ Shield-MLS Cup double: Los Angeles Galaxy (twice), DC United (twice), Columbus Crew, Los Angeles FC, Sporting Kansas City (known at the time as Kansas City Wizards) and Toronto FC.

Supporters’ Shield-MLS Cup double winners

Eastern Conference:

  • Columbus Crew: 2008
  • DC United: 1997, 1999
  • Toronto FC: 2017

Western Conference:

  • LA Galaxy: 2002, 2011
  • Los Angeles FC: 2022
  • Sporting Kansas City: 2000

When is the 2023 MLS Cup final?

Having beaten Cincinnati at the weekend, Columbus Crew will now face Western Conference winners LAFC in the MLS Cup final on Saturday 9 December, with kick-off scheduled for 4pm ET/1pm PT. As the higher seed, the Crew will host the showpiece event at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.

LAFC are the reigning MLS title holders, having last year become the sixth team in MLS history to win the regular-season and postseason titles in the same campaign.

2023 MLS Cup final: how to watch

You'll be able to watch the MLS Cup final on MLS Season Pass, a subscription service on the streaming platform Apple TV+.

You’ll also have the option of following live-text commentary of Columbus Crew vs LAFC at AS USA.

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