SportsPulse: Martin Rogers believes the World Cup group stage is filled with plenty of drama, potential Cinderella stories and star-studded matchups. So much so you’ll forget the U.S. isn’t in it.
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Toronto FC is having one of the greatest seasons in the 22-year history of Major League Soccer. TFC has already won the Canadian Championship and Supporters’ Shield. On Saturday, Toronto FC is attempting to do something no MLS team has ever done … complete the domestic treble.
If Toronto FC wins, they can stake claim to being one of the best teams in league history. That being said, if the Seattle Sounders can pull off back-to-back MLS Cup wins, a strong case could be made they belong in that conversation as well.
Going into the 2017 championship game, here are the best teams in MLS history. In order to be considered, a team must have prevailed in the league’s most important game: MLS Cup.
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5. 2008 Columbus Crew
Featuring league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto, coach of the year Sigi Schmid and defender of the year Chad Marshall, Columbus posted the best record in the league to claim the Supporters’ Shield. The Crew capped an impressive playoff run with an easy 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls (who were coached by current Mexico national team manager Juan Carlos Osorio) in MLS Cup.
4. 1998 Chicago Fire
Goalkeeper Zach Thornton makes a save during the Chicago Fire’s win in the 1998 MLS Cup. (Photo: MICHAEL CAULFIELD, Associated Press)
Coached by future U.S. national team manager Bob Bradley, the Fire became — and remain — the only expansion team in league history to win MLS Cup (only two expansion teams in the past 10 years — Seattle and Atlanta — have even reached the playoffs). The Fire also pulled off a domestic double by winning the U.S. Open Cup. This season kicked off a run of three MLS Cup appearances in six seasons for Chicago, who couldn’t recapture that championship magic of its inaugural season.
3. 2007 Houston Dynamo
Houston defeated the New England Revolution in consecutive MLS Cups (2006-07), and are one of three teams to win consecutive MLS Cups. The 2007 championship capped an impressive run for a group of players who won four MLS Cups in seven years (including two in San Jose before a relocation to Houston).
2. 1999 D.C. United
This was D.C. United at its apex, winning the third MLS Cup title in the first four seasons of the league’s existence. In order to claim that third championship trophy, D.C. United had to go through the Los Angeles Galaxy, who were also a league powerhouse that had the misfortune of being on the wrong end of two of those D.C. United MLS Cup wins.
1. 2011 Los Angeles Galaxy
The Galaxy teams that won back-to-back MLS Cups in 2011-12 possessed arguably the most loaded rosters in league history. Coached by Bruce Arena, the Galaxy featured players such as Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Mike Magee. The Galaxy’s 2011 season was more impressive, as it also collected the Supporters’ Shield. In 2012, the Galaxy started slowly (they were 3-8-2 heading into June), finished fourth in the Western Conference, but peaked in time for another championship run.
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