The MLS Cup is the championship match of Major League Soccer, the highest tier of professional soccer in the United States and Canada. As the final match of the MLS Cup playoffs, the winner is crowned the season champion in the same manner as other North American sports leagues. The MLS Cup finalists are awarded CONCACAF Champions' League berthsthe winner earning a spot in the group stage while the runner-up starts in the preliminary round. On October 20, 1996, the league hosted its inaugural championship, MLS Cup '96. Today the MLS Cup is typically held in late November featuring the winners of the Eastern Conference Championship and Western Conference Championship. The cup champions have been awarded the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy since 2008 while the years prior saw two versions of the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy presented to winners. D.C. United has won the MLS Cup the most with four league titles followed by Los Angeles Galaxy's three.
Contributions by Henryong, Portlygrub, and Bill Oaf.