One of the most exciting things about MLS is the playoffs that take place at the end of the season to award the MLS Cup. While many soccer leagues around the world simply crown a champion at the end of the regular season after every team has played one home game and one away game against each other, MLS decides its champion with a playoff.
This adds an element of surprise to every year. Sometimes the top teams survive and come out on top, while other times the postseason causes some chaos. Gaming content provider, Dimers.com, takes a look at the last 10 MLS cup winners and their preseason odds.
2022 MLS Cup Winner – Los Angeles FC (Preseason Odds: +700)
There were no surprises here. Los Angeles FC was the odds-on favorite to win the MLS Cup in both 2020 and 2021, and then a co-favorite to lift the trophy in 2022. After a pair of disappointing seasons in the previous two campaigns, LAFC finally put everything together in 2022, securing the top spot in the Western Conference with a 21-4-9 record during the regular season and then defeating the Philadelphia Union in penalties to secure the first MLS Cup in club history.
2021 MLS Cup Winner – New York City FC (Preseason Odds: +1000)
New York City FC entered the 2021 season as the fourth betting option on the MLS Cup futures board behind LAFC (+500), the Seattle Sounders (+800) and the Columbus Crew (+900). NYC was in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff picture coming into the postseason in fourth place in the standings, but the team got hot at the right time and took care of business in the postseason. New York City locked up the MLS Cup with a win in penalties over the Portland Timbers.
2020 MLS Cup Winner – Columbus Crew (Preseason Odds: +4400)
The Columbus Crew pulled off one of the biggest upsets in MLS history with its MLS Cup victory in 2020. Columbus was awful in 2019, failing to qualify for the postseason after compiling a 10-8-16 record that ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference and 20th overall in MLS. As a result, 18 teams were ahead of Columbus on the betting board heading into 2020. But lightning struck as the club made the postseason with a 12-5-6 record in a COVID-19 shortened season and defeated the Seattle Sounders (who were +800 in the preseason) 3-0 in the MLS Final to complete the dream season.
2019 MLS Cup Winner – Seattle Sounders FC (Preseason Odds: +1000)
The Seattle Sounders came into the 2019 as one of the top contenders to win the MLS Cup. Atlanta United was the clear odds-on favorite to win at +500 coming off of its championship victory in 2018, but Seattle wasn’t far behind on the board at +1000 right alongside LAFC. Seattle finished second to LAFC during the regular season but got the job done in the playoffs.
2018 MLS Cup Winner – Atlanta United (Preseason Odds: +800)
On paper, a team winning a league championship in its second year in existence sounds like a Cinderella story. But that wasn’t the case for Atlanta United, which was a very talented team with outstanding home crowds that was expected to do well going off at +800. Josef Martinez scored an MLS-record 31 goals during the regular season and Atlanta United took care of business in the postseason to win the MLS Cup one year after its debut season.
2017 MLS Cup Winner – Toronto FC (Preseason Odds: +700)
This was another year that finished with a winner that wasn’t too surprising. Toronto FC entered the 2017 campaign as one of the favorites to win the MLS Cup, and it looked the part every step of the way. Toronto’s 20-9-5 record during the regular season earned the club the top spot on the MLS table by a 12-point margin, and that dominance continued in the postseason en route to victory.
2016 MLS Cup Winner – Seattle Sounders (Preseason Odds: +1500)
The 2016 season delivered another surprise as the Seattle Sounders overcame some heavy favorites to win their first MLS Cup in club history. This season was expected to be a three-horse race between the New York Red Bull (+400), the LA Galaxy (+500) and the Portland Timbers (+525). Seattle entered the playoffs under the radar with a 14-6-14 record ranking fourth in the Western Conference, but the Sounders got hot at the right time and made an improbable championship run in the postseason.
2015 MLS Cup Winner – Portland Timbers (Preseason Odds: +2500)
The last big upset on this list came in 2015 when the Portland Timbers rewarded early-season backers with an improbable MLS Cup victory. The LA Galaxy had won three of the last four MLS championships coming into this season and were the favorites to win again at +300. The only team that was expected to be a challenge for the Galaxy were the Seattle Sounders at +400 to win the cup. Portland made the postseason as the third-seed in the West with a 15-8-11 record and didn’t even have to face Los Angeles or Seattle in a fairly smooth path to the top.
2014 MLS Cup Winner – LA Galaxy (Preseason Odds: +450)
This was the LA Galaxy’s third championship in four years, and it didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone given the club’s loaded roster. The Galaxy were the preseason favorites to win the MLS Cup in 2014 and they did not disappoint, finishing second in the Western Conference during the regular season with a 17-10-7 before finding another gear in the postseason to earn the trophy.
2013 MLS Cup Winner – Sporting KC (Preseason Odds: +600)
The last team on this list is another one that didn’t surprise too many MLS fans as Sporting KC entered the 2013 season as one of the top contenders to win. Kansas City had a couple of close calls in the postseason with an extra-time win over New England and a 7-6 penalty win over Real Salt Lake in the final, but in the end they came out on top.