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LAFC two games from history: which teams have won back-to-back MLS titles?

After victory in the Western Conference semi-finals, LAFC are one step closer to joining an exclusive club of consecutive MLS championship winners.

LAFC - Houston Dynamo en vivo: Final de Conferencia Oeste de MLS, hoy en directo

The identity of the MLS Cup finalists will be revealed on Saturday, when the 2023 conference finals see FC Cincinnati host Columbus Crew in the East and Houston Dynamo visit Los Angeles FC in the West.

LAFC on cusp of MLS history

As defending champions, LAFC host Houston in the knowledge that they’re now just two games away from joining a select club of teams who have won back-to-back MLS titles. Since the North American league’s inception in 1996, indeed, only three franchises have achieved the feat.

Who are MLS’ consecutive championship winners

DC United lifted two of their four MLS championships in the competition’s first two years, beating Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids in the 1996 and 1997 finals, respectively.

Houston then secured consecutive crowns a decade later, with victory over New England Revolution in both the 2006 and 2007 trophy deciders.

Those two triumphs remain the Dynamo’s only MLS titles; the Texans returned to the championship game in 2011 and 2012, but lost both to the Galaxy as the LA franchise became the most recent team to win two leagues on the spin.

In addition to being one of only a trio of teams to win MLS twice in a row, LAFC’s city rivals are the most decorated team in league history, having lifted the title on five occasions.

2023 MLS conference finals: full schedule

Saturday 2 December 2023, 6pm ET:

  • FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew - TQL Stadium

Saturday 2 December 2023: 9:30pm ET:

  • Los Angeles FC vs Houston Dynamo - BMO Stadium

How did the conference finalists qualify?

In the Eastern Conference, Cincinnati and Columbus set up an all-Ohio clash with semi-final wins over Philadelphia Union and Orlando City, respectively; in the Western Conference last four, meanwhile, the Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City and LAFC saw off Seattle Sounders.

Seattle Sounders - LAFC summary: score, goals and highlights, MLS Cup Playoffs
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Dénis Bouanga's fine goal gave LAFC victory over Seattle.Joe NicholsonUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

When is the 2023 MLS Cup final?

The 2023 MLS Cup final is to be played on Saturday 9 December 2023, with kick-off scheduled for 4pm ET/1pm PT.

MLS rules state that the higher-ranked regular-season team gets to host the game, so the winner of Cincinnati vs Columbus will have home advantage.

Cincinnati won the Supporters’ Shield as 2023′s top-performing regular-season side, while Columbus finished third in the MLS-wide ranking. LAFC were eighth, and Houston came one place below the Californians.

MLS playoffs: how to watch

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

Enjoy the postseason on Season Pass.