UPDATE (10/18/20): The Independent Supporters Council issued a statement on Sunday clarifying details of an announcement from the Supporters' Shield Foundation that the Supporters' Shield will not be awarded for the 2020 season.
ORIGINAL (10/17/20): The Supporters' Shield, awarded to the team that finishes with the best record during the MLS regular season, will not be awarded in 2020.
The Shield was created by club supporters in the early years of the league and it has recognized the best MLS team in every regular season since 1998 (the 1996 and 1997 teams were later inscribed into the trophy).
- READ: In-depth history of the Supporters' Shield
- All-time MLS Supporters' Shield winners
- How the Supporters' Shield got its start
Below is the official statement from the Supporters' Shield Foundation board:
After much consideration and discussion, the Supporters' Shield Foundation has decided to forego awarding the Supporters' Shield for the 2020 season. This is not an easy decision to make. With the inability for supporters to be in attendance and fill their stadiums with passion, however, we feel as though the current climate goes against the spirit of the Shield.
The Supporters’ Shield Foundation stands with our players and our supporters in knowing that this year has been one of many challenges, and we commend the support and effort given to making the best of the 2020 season as it has been.
With no 2020 winner to house the Shield, we will be taking 2021 as a means to spread the word and spirit of the shield across the entire league. We look forward to educating supporters on the Shield’s history and passion, as well as welcoming new supporter groups to MLS. As long as it can be safely done, the Supporters’ Shield will be going on tour in 2021 so that as many supporters as possible may be able to see and learn about this wonderful symbol of North American soccer.
On behalf of the Supporters' Shield board, we hope everyone remains safe. We look forward to awarding the Shield to the winners of the 2021 season.
Major League Soccer shared the following statement:
Major League Soccer has been notified by the Independent Supporters Council of their decision to not award the Supporters’ Shield this season.
Everyone involved in MLS understands that the 2020 season -- like every major professional sports league -- was unprecedented in our history. The club that finishes at the top of our regular season will have persevered through a highly challenging year. As in previous seasons, this team will be the top seed in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, earn a berth in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and receive the bonus that goes to the club that finishes first overall in the regular season standings. Most of all, the millions of people who follow and support our league, teams and players will always remember the club that finished as 2020 MLS regular season leader.
The LA Galaxy and D.C. United are four-time Shield winners with Columbus Crew SC (3), New York Red Bulls (3) and the San Jose Earthquakes (2) having also won the Shield multiple times. Seven times in the league's history has the same club pulled off the double: winning both the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup.
Heading into Week 19 of the 2020 regular season, Toronto FC (38 points) have the best regular-season record, three points ahead of the Philadelphia Union (35 points).