MLS Cup: Ranking every championship game

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The Seattle Sounders have won their first MLS Cup, outlasting Toronto FC in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw through extra time.
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The 2017 MLS Cup (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET) is a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup, which was won by the Seattle Sounders over Toronto FC in a penalty shootout. 

The participating teams are among the finest the league has ever had to offer. However, last year’s championship game was not the most exciting engagement. Maybe this year’s title tilt will provide more fireworks. 

Here’s a ranking of every MLS Cup ever played.

21. 2008: Columbus Crew over New York Red Bulls, 3-1

This is the only MLS Cup appearance ever for NYRB (previously the MetroStars), and they were no match for the Crew. League MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto assisted on all three goals in the rout.

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20. 1998: Chicago Fire over D.C. United, 2-0

The Fire halted D.C. United’s quest to win the first three titles in league history with a comfortable dispatching of the league’s dominant team at the time. Chicago scored twice in the first half to cruise to the first (and still only) championship won by an MLS expansion team.

19. 1999: D.C. United over Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-0

After winning the first two MLS Cups, D.C. United fell to the expansion Chicago Fire in the championship game in 1998. The team was back in the title game in 1999, and cruised to a pedestrian win.

18. 2010: Colorado Rapids over FC Dallas, 2-1

The last of the neutral-site MLS Cups is a somewhat forgettable affair. Neither team was really expected to be there. Colorado prevailed on a game-winning own goal in extra time, set up by Rapids striker Macoumba Kandji, who injured himself on the play. 

Macoumba Kandji (10) is congratulated after the Colorado Rapids scored the go-ahead goal against FC Dallas in the 2010 MLS Cup. (Photo: Harry How, Getty Images)

17. 2004: D.C. United over Kansas City Wizards, 3-2

Freddy Adu was a mega-hyped 15-year-old MLS rookie and came on as a second-half sub in the last of four MLS Cup wins for D.C. United. Despite being up a man for more than 30 minutes of play, KC found the equalizing goal to be particularly elusive. 

16. 2000: Kansas City Wizards over Chicago Fire, 1-0

This was Tony Meola at his finest. The one-time U.S. national team goalkeeper had a season for the ages in 2000, earning goalkeeper of the year and MVP honors. That run of excellence carried over into MLS Cup, as he offered a clean sheet against the league’s highest-scoring team and was named game MVP.

15. 2016: Seattle Sounders over Toronto FC, 0-0 (Seattle won 5-4 on penalties)

The Sounders won the championship despite not registering a single shot on goal on a frigid evening at Toronto’s BMO Field. Stefan Frei’s save on a Jozy Altidore shot was tremendous, saved the Sounders’ title hopes and is arguably the greatest single play in MLS Cup history.