MLS Western Conference History
The Western Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS) has a rich history dating back to the league’s inception in 1996. Since then, the conference has been home to some of the most successful and popular clubs in the league. Like the Eastern Conference, they too have some of the most memorable moments in MLS history.
Western Conference Early Years
In the early days of MLS, the Western Conference was dominated by two clubs: the Los Angeles Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. The Galaxy, led by legendary midfielder Cobi Jones and Mexican striker Luis Hernandez, won the MLS Cup in 2002, 2005, 2011, and 2012. In the end, this cemented their place as one of the league’s most successful clubs. The Earthquakes, meanwhile, won MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003. This was all due to the goalscoring exploits of Landon Donovan and Dwayne De Rosario.
As MLS grew and expanded in the early 2000s, the Western Conference welcomed new clubs like Real Salt Lake, the Colorado Rapids, and Chivas USA. These teams helped to increase the competitiveness of the conference. Then, in 2009, Real Salt Lake won its first MLS Cup. During this, they defeated the Galaxy in a penalty shootout.
The Western Conference continued to produce some of the league’s best teams and players in the following years. Overall, there were clubs like the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, and Vancouver Whitecaps joining the fray. The Sounders, in particular, have been a dominant force in the conference since their arrival in 2009. Here, they won four U.S. Open Cups. Finally, they reached the MLS Cup final in 2016 and 2017.
The 2010s also saw the rise of some of the Western Conference’s most exciting players. Some include, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore of Toronto FC, Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders, and Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers. These players helped to raise the profile of MLS and the Western Conference. Therefore, they were known for drawing attention from fans and media worldwide.
In recent years, the Western Conference has seen a new dominant force emerge. This is, Los Angeles FC. Founded in 2014, the club made an immediate impact upon entering MLS in 2018. They won the Supporters’ Shield in their first season and broke numerous records along the way. Led by Mexican superstar Carlos Vela, LAFC has quickly become one of the league’s most popular and successful clubs.
As MLS continues to grow and evolve, the Western Conference remains an integral part of the league’s history and identity. In the end, there is the early dominance of the Galaxy and Earthquakes as well as the emergence of new clubs and players. In the end, The Western Conference has helped to shape MLS into the dynamic and exciting league that it is today.
MLS Western Conference