Understanding Major League Soccer: A Comprehensive Guide

Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer (MLS) is the professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, founded in 1993 as part of the United States’ successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The league is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and represents the highest level of soccer competition in North America.

MLS has grown significantly since its inception, both in terms of the number of teams and the quality of play. The league’s growth is marked by the construction of soccer-specific stadiums, increased television coverage, and the signing of high-profile international players. MLS aims to become one of the top soccer leagues in the world by focusing on youth development, strategic partnerships, and expanding its reach through marketing and fan engagement.

What Does MLS Stand For?

MLS stands for Major League Soccer. This league was established with the aim of promoting soccer in the United States and Canada, providing a professional platform for players, and nurturing the sport’s growth in North America. The name “Major League Soccer” reflects its status as the premier soccer competition in the region, similar to other major sports leagues like the NFL (National Football League), NBA (National Basketball Association), and MLB (Major League Baseball).

How Many Games in an MLS Season?

The number of games in an MLS season has evolved over time due to the league’s expansion and changes in its format. As of the 2023 season, each of the 29 MLS teams plays 34 regular-season matches. The season is divided into home and away games, with each team playing 17 matches at home and 17 on the road.

The regular season typically begins in late February or early March and runs until October. Following the regular season, the top teams from each conference (Eastern and Western) advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs, culminating in the MLS Cup Final, which usually takes place in early December.

How Many MLS Cups Are There?

The MLS Cup is the championship match of Major League Soccer, determining the league champion for the season. There is only one MLS Cup awarded each year. The MLS Cup Playoffs involve a knockout format where the top teams from each conference compete to reach the final. The winner of the MLS Cup is crowned the league champion and earns a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, which is a prestigious competition featuring top clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

How Many Teams Are in MLS?

As of the 2023 season, Major League Soccer comprises 29 teams. The league is divided into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Here is a breakdown of the teams by conference:

Eastern Conference:

  1. Atlanta United FC
  2. Charlotte FC
  3. Chicago Fire FC
  4. FC Cincinnati
  5. Columbus Crew SC
  6. D.C. United
  7. Inter Miami CF
  8. CF Montréal
  9. Nashville SC
  10. New England Revolution
  11. New York City FC
  12. New York Red Bulls
  13. Orlando City SC
  14. Philadelphia Union
  15. Toronto FC

Western Conference:

  1. Austin FC
  2. Colorado Rapids
  3. FC Dallas
  4. Houston Dynamo FC
  5. LA Galaxy
  6. Los Angeles FC
  7. Minnesota United FC
  8. Portland Timbers
  9. Real Salt Lake
  10. San Jose Earthquakes
  11. Seattle Sounders FC
  12. Sporting Kansas City
  13. St. Louis CITY SC
  14. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

The league continues to expand, with new teams being added periodically, contributing to the growth and popularity of soccer in North America.

How Many Games Are in an MLS Season?

To understand the total number of games in an MLS season, it’s important to consider both the regular season and the playoffs. As mentioned earlier, each team plays 34 regular-season matches. With 29 teams in the league, this results in a substantial number of games overall. The exact total can be calculated as follows:

  • Regular Season: 34 games per team x 29 teams = 493 games

This figure represents the total number of regular-season games played in the league. However, the season does not end with the regular season. The MLS Cup Playoffs add additional matches to the overall total.

The number of playoff games varies each year, depending on the format and the number of teams that qualify. In the current format, 14 teams (7 from each conference) qualify for the playoffs. The playoffs consist of single-elimination rounds, leading up to the MLS Cup Final. The exact number of playoff games can range from 13 to 19, depending on the outcomes of the knockout rounds.

Total Games (Regular Season + Playoffs):

  • Regular Season: 493 games
  • Playoffs: Approximately 13-19 games
  • Total: Approximately 506-512 games

This comprehensive total highlights the extensive schedule and the significant number of matches that take place in an MLS season.


Major League Soccer (MLS) has established itself as a major professional soccer league in North America, with a growing number of teams and a dedicated fan base. Understanding the structure and format of the league, including the number of games played and the significance of the MLS Cup, provides valuable insight into the dynamics of this rapidly evolving sports league. how to sell mlb ballpark app tickets on stubhub

With continuous expansion and increasing popularity, MLS is set to play a crucial role in the development and promotion of soccer in the United States and Canada, striving to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world. How to Sell Tickets on Ticketmaster

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