How is the MLS Cup host team determined?

FC Dallas’ win against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday didn’t just propel the club into first in the Supporters’ Shield race – it also guaranteed that they’ll host MLS Cup, should they advance that far.

As has been the case since 2012, the finalist with the highest regular-season point total hosts MLS Cup. In the event that both finalists have the same amount of regular season points, the team with more wins – or if they're tied in that category, better goal difference – will host MLS Cup. 

Sunday’s win kept Dallas five points ahead of the East-leading New York Red Bulls with just one game remaining, meaning that it’s impossible for any Eastern Conference team to finish with more points than FCD. If they’re able to overcome Mauro Diaz’s reported Achilles injury to make the final, Dallas will host MLS Cup.

The Colorado Rapids, who trail FCD by two points, also stand a good chance of securing home-field status for MLS Cup this weekend. They’ll certainly be hoping for much more, but the Supporters’ Shield contenders only need a draw against Houston on Sunday to ensure that they’ll host Cup if they reach the title game.

They can’t catch Dallas and are unlikely to pass Colorado, but the Red Bulls would host MLS Cup against any other Western Conference team. The LA Galaxy are the only team from that group that could finish the regular season tied with the Red Bulls on points. Even if LA manage to pull level with a win against Dallas and a New York loss at Philadelphia on Sunday, New York would hold the tiebreaker over them and would thereby host a potential Cup matchup against the Galaxy.

The full MLS Cup hosting priority, as things stand with one regular-season game remaining, is below:

  1. FC Dallas
  2. Colorado Rapids
  3. New York Red Bulls
  4. New York City FC
  5. LA Galaxy
  6. Toronto FC
  7. Real Salt Lake
  8. D.C. United
  9. Seattle Sounders
  10. Montreal Impact
  11. Sporting Kansas City
  12. Portland Timbers
  13. Philadelphia Union
  14. New England Revolution