Western Conference (MLS)

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Western Conference
LeagueMajor League Soccer
SportSoccer
Founded1996
Teams
No. of teams13
Championships
Most recent champion(s)Seattle Sounders FC (2020)
(4th title)
Most titlesLA Galaxy
(8 titles)
Current MLS team locations.
Western Conference in red, Eastern Conference in blue.

The Western Conference is one of Major League Soccer's two conferences, along with the Eastern Conference.

As of 2021, the Western Conference contains thirteen teams. The conference has produced ten Supporters' Shield champions and sixteen MLS Cup winners in Major League Soccer's first 25 seasons. In 2000 and 2001, the conference was referred to as the Western Division when Major League Soccer briefly reorganized into three divisions.

Current standings[edit]

Pos Team Pld W L T GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 Colorado Rapids 34 17 7 10 51 35 +16 61 Qualification for the Playoffs Conference semifinals
and CONCACAF Champions League
2 Seattle Sounders FC 34 17 8 9 53 33 +20 60 Qualification for the Playoffs first round and CONCACAF Champions League
3 Sporting Kansas City 34 17 10 7 58 40 +18 58 Qualification for the Playoffs first round and Leagues Cup
4 Portland Timbers 34 17 13 4 56 52 +4 55
5 Minnesota United FC 34 13 11 10 42 44 −2 49 Qualification for the Playoffs first round
6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC[a] 34 12 9 13 45 45 0 49
7 Real Salt Lake 34 14 14 6 55 54 +1 48
8 LA Galaxy 34 13 12 9 50 54 −4 48
9 Los Angeles FC 34 12 13 9 53 51 +2 45
10 San Jose Earthquakes 34 10 13 11 46 54 −8 41
11 FC Dallas 34 7 15 12 47 56 −9 33
12 Austin FC 34 9 21 4 35 56 −21 31
13 Houston Dynamo FC 34 6 16 12 36 54 −18 30
Source: MLS
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) total wins; 3) total goal differential; 4) total goals scored; 5) fewer disciplinary points; 6) away goal differential; 7) away goals scored; 8) home goals differential; 9) home goals scored; 10) coin toss (2 clubs tied) or drawing of lots (≥3 clubs tied)
Notes:
  1. ^ Canadian clubs cannot qualify for the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League through the MLS regular season or playoffs.

Members[edit]

Current[edit]

Team City Stadium
Austin FC Austin, TX Austin FC Stadium
Colorado Rapids Commerce City, CO Dick's Sporting Goods Park
FC Dallas Frisco, TX Toyota Stadium
Houston Dynamo FC Houston, TX BBVA Compass Stadium
LA Galaxy Carson, CA StubHub Center
Los Angeles FC Los Angeles, CA Banc of California Stadium
Minnesota United FC Saint Paul, MN Allianz Field
Portland Timbers Portland, OR Providence Park
Real Salt Lake Sandy, UT Rio Tinto Stadium
San Jose Earthquakes San Jose, CA Earthquakes Stadium
Seattle Sounders FC Seattle, WA CenturyLink Field
Sporting Kansas City Kansas City, KS Children's Mercy Park
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver, BC BC Place

Conference lineups by year[edit]

1996 (5 teams)[edit]

Changes from 1995: Creation of Major League Soccer.

1997 (5 teams)[edit]

Changes from 1996: Kansas City changed their name from to Kansas City Wizards.

1998–99 (6 teams)[edit]

  • Chicago Fire
  • Colorado Rapids
  • Dallas Burn
  • Kansas City Wizards
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • San Jose Clash

Changes from 1997: Chicago Fire were added in the 1998 expansion.

2000–01 (as Western Division) (4 teams)[edit]

Changes from 1999: The Western Conference changed to the Western Division with the creation of the new Central Division; Chicago Fire and Dallas Burn moved into the new Central Division; San Jose Clash changed their name to San Jose Earthquakes.

2002–04 (5 teams)[edit]

  • Colorado Rapids
  • Dallas Burn
  • Kansas City Wizards
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • San Jose Earthquakes

Changes from 2001: The Western Division changed back to the Western Conference following the contraction of Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, resulting in the disbanding of the Central Division; Dallas Burn moved back in from the Central Division.

2005 (6 teams)[edit]

Changes from 2004: Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake were added in the 2005 expansion; Kansas City Wizards moved to the Eastern Conference; Dallas Burn changed their name to FC Dallas.

2006–07 (6 teams)[edit]

  • Chivas USA
  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Real Salt Lake

Changes from 2005: San Jose Earthquakes put on hiatus; Houston Dynamo join the league as a new team.

2008 (7 teams)[edit]

  • Chivas USA
  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes

Changes from 2007: San Jose Earthquakes return to MLS from their hiatus.

2009–10 (8 teams)[edit]

  • Chivas USA
  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC

Changes from 2008: Seattle Sounders FC were added in the 2009 expansion.

2011–14 (9 teams)[edit]

Changes from 2010: Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC were added in the 2011 expansion; Houston Dynamo moved to the Eastern Conference.

2015–16 (10 teams)[edit]

  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Changes from 2014: Chivas USA ceases operations; Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo move back in to the Western Conference.[1]

2017 (11 teams)[edit]

  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Changes from 2016: Minnesota United FC was added in the 2017 expansion.[2]

2018–19 (12 teams)[edit]

  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • LA Galaxy
  • Los Angeles FC
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Changes from 2017: Los Angeles FC was added in the 2018 expansion.

2020 (12 teams)[edit]

  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • LA Galaxy
  • Los Angeles FC
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Changes from 2019: Nashville SC was added in the 2020 expansion, but moved to the East since the MLS is Back Tournament up to the end of the 2020 season.[3]

2021 (13 teams)[edit]

  • Austin FC
  • Colorado Rapids
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo FC
  • LA Galaxy
  • Los Angeles FC
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Portland Timbers
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Changes from 2020: Nashville SC moved to the Eastern Conference,[4]Austin FC was added in the 2021 season, and Houston Dynamo adds "FC" to the official team name.

Western Conference playoff champions by year[edit]

Note: The Conference Finals were a best-of-three series through 2001 (including the MLS semifinals in 2000 and 2001, when a conference playoff format was not used). Matches tied after regulation were decided by a shoot-out. In 2002, a similar format was used except that draws were allowed and the team earning the most points advanced. From 2003 through 2011, the Finals were a single match. Matches tied after regulation went to extra time (Golden goal extra time was implemented for 2003 only), then a shoot-out if necessary. Beginning in 2012, the finals were a two-match aggregate series. The away goals rule for series that finished even on aggregate was first implemented in 2014. Extra time and shoot-outs were used if necessary, although away goals did not apply in extra time. In 2019, the playoffs returned to a single match, single elimination format (including the Conference Finals), which were hosted by the higher placed team in the regular season.

Bold MLS Cup Champions
Season Champions Score Runners-up
1996 LA Galaxy 2 matches to 0 Kansas City Wizards
1997 Colorado Rapids 2 matches to 0 Dallas Burn
1998 Chicago Fire 2 matches to 0 LA Galaxy
1999 LA Galaxy 2 matches to 1 Dallas Burn
2000 No conference playoffs
2001 No conference playoffs
2002 LA Galaxy 6 points to 0 Colorado Rapids
2003 San Jose Earthquakes 3–2 (a.e.t.) Kansas City Wizards
2004 Kansas City Wizards 2–0 LA Galaxy
2005 LA Galaxy 2–0 Colorado Rapids
2006 Houston Dynamo 3–1 Colorado Rapids
2007 Houston Dynamo 2–0 Kansas City Wizards
2008 New York Red BullsE 1–0 Real Salt Lake
2009 LA Galaxy 2–0 (a.e.t.) Houston Dynamo
2010 FC Dallas 3–0 LA Galaxy
2011 LA Galaxy 3–1 Real Salt Lake
2012 LA Galaxy 4–2 agg. Seattle Sounders FC
2013 Real Salt Lake 5–2 agg. Portland Timbers
2014 LA Galaxy 2–2 agg. (a) Seattle Sounders FC
2015 Portland Timbers 5–3 agg. FC Dallas
2016 Seattle Sounders FC 3–1 agg. Colorado Rapids
2017 Seattle Sounders FC 5–0 agg. Houston Dynamo
2018 Portland Timbers 3–2 agg. Sporting Kansas City
2019 Seattle Sounders FC 3–1 Los Angeles FC
2020 Seattle Sounders FC 3–2 Minnesota United FC

E – Eastern Conference team.

Western Conference Champion counts by team[edit]

As of the 2020 season, a total of 13 different teams have competed in the Western Conference Finals, and 11 of those teams have won at least once. In the table below, teams are ordered first by the number of appearances in a Western Conference Finals, then by the number of wins, and finally by year. Note that this table does not include years that a Western Conference team appeared in the Eastern Conference in the playoffs (such as 2010), and it does include appearances by Eastern Conference teams. Chivas USA (defunct), Nashville SC and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC have never made it to the Western Conference Finals.

Club Appearances Wins Losses Most recent Year of Appearance
LA Galaxy 11 8 3 2014
Seattle Sounders FC 6 4 2 2020
Colorado Rapids 5 1 4 2016
Sporting Kansas City 5 1 4 2007
Houston Dynamo FC 4 2 2 2017
FC Dallas 4 1 3 2015
Real Salt Lake 4 1 3 2013
Portland Timbers 3 2 1 2018
New York Red Bulls (Eastern Conference team) 1 1 0 2008
San Jose Earthquakes 1 1 0 2003
Chicago Fire FC (now in Eastern Conference) 1 1 0 1998
Minnesota United FC 1 0 1 2020
Los Angeles FC 1 0 1 2019

Western Conference regular season champions by year[edit]

Bold Supporters' Shield Champions
Year Team Record (W–L–T) (GD) Playoffs result
1996 LA Galaxy 19–13–0^ (+10) Lost MLS Cup
1997 Kansas City Wizards 21–11–0^ (+6) Lost Conference Semifinals
1998 LA Galaxy 24–8–0^ (+41) Lost Conference Finals
1999 LA Galaxy 20–12–0^ (+20) Lost MLS Cup
2000 Kansas City Wizards 16–7–9 (+18) Won MLS Cup
2001 LA Galaxy 14–7–5 (+16) Lost Semifinals
2002 LA Galaxy 16–9–3 (+11) Won MLS Cup
2003 San Jose Earthquakes 14–7–9 (+10) Won MLS Cup
2004 Kansas City Wizards 14–9–7 (+8) Lost MLS Cup
2005 San Jose Earthquakes 18–4–10 (+22) Lost Conference Semifinals
2006 FC Dallas 16–12–4 (+4) Lost Conference Semifinals
2007 Chivas USA 15–7–8 (+18) Lost Conference Semifinals
2008 Houston Dynamo 13–5–12 (+13) Lost Conference Semifinals
2009 LA Galaxy 12–6–12 (+5) Lost MLS Cup
2010 LA Galaxy 18–7–5 (+18) Lost Conference Finals
2011 LA Galaxy 19–5–10 (+20) Won MLS Cup
2012 San Jose Earthquakes 19–6–9 (+29) Lost Conference Semifinals
2013 Portland Timbers 14–5–15 (+21) Lost Conference Finals
2014 Seattle Sounders FC 20–10–4 (+15) Lost Conference Finals
2015 FC Dallas 18–10–6 (+13) Lost Conference Finals
2016 FC Dallas 17–8–9 (+10) Lost Conference Semifinals
2017 Portland Timbers 15–11–8 (+10) Lost Conference Semifinals
2018 Sporting Kansas City 18–8–8 (+25) Lost Conference Finals
2019 Los Angeles FC 21–4–9 (+48) Lost Conference Finals
2020 Sporting Kansas City 12–6–3 (+13) Lost Conference Semifinals
2021 Colorado Rapids 17–7–10 (+16) TBD

^ – MLS did not have draws until the 2000 season.
† – The LA Galaxy were declared winners of the Western Division in 2001 after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks forced the cancellation of the rest of the regular season. The MLS Cup Playoffs began on September 20.

MLS Cup Champions produced[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MLS announces new strategy for Los Angeles market, 2015 conference alignment". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "Atlanta to join Eastern Conference in 2017, Minnesota to compete in West". Major League Soccer. August 20, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Nashville SC moves to Eastern Conference for remainder of 2020 season". MLSsoccer.com. June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Hills, Drake (December 8, 2020). "MLS Commissioner: Nashville SC in Eastern Conference next season but spot unknown beyond 2021". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 9, 2020.

External links[edit]