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MLSsoccer.com

Tue, Jun 08, 2021 06:01 PM PT








































Atlanta United FC

Atlanta United FC, commonly known as Atlanta United, is an American professional soccer club based in Atlanta that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference. They are the most recent winner of the U.S. Open Cup. Founded in 2014, Atlanta United began play as an MLS expansion team in 2017, as the twenty-second team in the league. It is the first MLS franchise to be based in Atlanta, and the club plays home games at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which they share with the city's National Football League (NFL) franchise, the Atlanta Falcons. Both are owned by Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot. The club also owns Atlanta United 2, a reserve team that competes in the USL Championship (USLC). Gerardo Martino was appointed as the club's first head coach and guided Atlanta to their first playoff appearance in the team's debut season, before securing the team's first trophy in just their second season by winning MLS Cup 2018. Based on 2018 regular season attendance, Atlanta has one of the largest fanbases in MLS, and they have set several league records for highest single-match and average attendance. In 2021, Sportico estimated the club was the second most valuable in the league, worth approximately $845 million.

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Dignity Health Sports Park

Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly Home Depot Center and StubHub Center, is a multiple-use sports complex located on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. It consists of the 27,000-seat Dignity Health Sports Park Soccer Stadium, the Dignity Health Sports Park Tennis Stadium, a track and field facility and a velodrome: VELO Sports Center. It is approximately 14 miles (23 km) south of downtown Los Angeles and its primary tenant is the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer (MLS). The main stadium is also home to the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL. LA Galaxy II of the USL Championship play their home matches at the complex's track and field facility. Opened in 2003, the $150 million complex was developed and is operated by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. With a seating capacity of 27,000, it is the second largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. after Nashville SC's Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee and the third-largest among its kind in MLS, after Nashville and Toronto FC's BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to hosting LA Galaxy games since its opening, the stadium also served as the home of the now-defunct Chivas USA MLS team from 2005 to 2014. The stadium was the temporary home of the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017 to 2019. While hosting the Chargers, it was the smallest NFL stadium over the course of those three seasons. While the Chargers played in the stadium, the facility was named ROKiT Field at StubHub Center; ROKiT's naming rights to the football field were part of a "multi-year" agreement.

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Expansion of Major League Soccer

Expansion of Major League Soccer has occurred several times since the league began play in 1996. Major League Soccer was established as the top level of professional soccer in the United States in 1993 with 10 teams and began play in 1996. It has expanded several times since 1998 into new markets across the United States and, since 2006, Canada. Austin FC became the 27th team in the league in 2021. The league plans to reach 30 teams with the addition of Charlotte FC in 2022, and Sacramento Republic FC and St. Louis City SC in 2023; however, Sacramento's addition was put on indefinite hold. It may expand to 32 teams at a later date. Expanding and establishing a larger national reach is seen as essential to securing television rights fees needed to reach MLS's stated goal of becoming one of the top leagues in the world by 2022.In 2013, New York City FC agreed to pay a record $100 million expansion fee for the right to join MLS in 2015. This record was surpassed by the ownership groups of FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC, which each paid $150 million to join MLS (FC Cincinnati in 2019 and Nashville in 2020). The same amount was paid as an effective entrance fee by a group that bought Columbus Crew SC in 2018, which led to that team's previous operator receiving a new team in Austin, Texas, that joined MLS in April 2021.

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List of MLS Cup finals

The MLS Cup is the annual championship match of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top-level men's soccer league for the United States and Canada. The match marks the conclusion of the MLS Cup Playoffs, a four-round knockout competition contested by the top six teams from each of the league's two conferences. The playoffs tournament is organized by the league at the end of the regular season in a format similar to other professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, but unlike other soccer leagues. The league also awards the Supporters' Shield to teams that have the most points during the regular season. Both the MLS Cup champion and Supporters' Shield winner qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, contested by the champions of CONCACAF leagues in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.First contested in 1996, the MLS Cup was originally hosted by a predetermined neutral site selected by the league before the regular season. Since the 2012 edition, the match has been hosted by the remaining team with the highest regular season standing. The final, originally contested in October, was moved to November and later December as the length of the regular season and playoffs were extended by the league. The playoffs originally allowed for lower-ranked seeds, known as wild cards, to be placed into different sides of the bracket regardless of their actual conference. As a result, several MLS Cups have featured two teams from the same conference.Columbus Crew SC are the reigning cup-holders, having defeated Seattle Sounders FC in the 2020 final. The Los Angeles Galaxy hold the record for most MLS Cup titles, having won five times in nine appearances.

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MLS Cup

The MLS Cup is the annual championship game of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the culmination of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The game is held in December and pits the winner of the Eastern Conference Final against the winner of the Western Conference Final. The MLS Cup winner is awarded the title of league champion. MLS uses a playoff tournament following the regular season to determine its annual league champion, a method common to every other major North American sports league. This format differs from most soccer leagues around the world, which consider the club with the most points at the end of the season to be the champion; MLS honors that achievement with the Supporters' Shield. A U.S.-based team that wins the MLS Cup is awarded one of the country's four berths in the following season's CONCACAF Champions League. The three Canadian teams of MLS can only qualify for the Champions League through the Canadian Championship—if any of them should win the MLS Cup, the Champions League berth tied to game is passed on to the highest-placed U.S.-based team in the overall regular season table that did not already qualify.The inaugural MLS Cup was held on October 20, 1996, in which D.C. United defeated the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy are the most successful team in MLS Cup history, winning a record fifth title in 2014. Three trophy designs have been used for the MLS Cup: the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy from 1996 through 1998, a redesigned Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy from 1999 through 2007, and the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy since 2008.

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Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men's professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, which represents the sport's highest level in the United States. The league comprises 27 teams—24 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada—and plans to expand to 29 teams by the 2023 season. Although not one of the "Big Four", the MLS, along with the Canadian Football League, is considered one of the "Big Six" major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The league is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan. Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 as part of the United States' successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The inaugural season took place in 1996 with ten teams. MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years, losing millions of dollars and folding two teams in 2002. Since then, developments such as the proliferation of soccer-specific stadiums around the league, implementation of the Designated Player Rule allowing teams to sign star players such as David Beckham, and national TV contracts have made MLS profitable. With an average attendance of over 20,000 per game, MLS has the fourth-highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the U.S. and Canada after the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), and Canadian Football League (CFL) and was the seventh-highest attended professional soccer league worldwide by 2013.The MLS regular season typically starts in late February or early March and runs through mid-October, with each team playing 34 games; the team with the best record is awarded the Supporters' Shield. Fourteen teams compete in the postseason MLS Cup Playoffs in late October and November, culminating in the league's championship game, the MLS Cup.Instead of operating as an association of independently owned clubs, MLS is a single entity in which each team is owned by the league and individually operated by the league's investors.

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Major League Soccer on television

Major League Soccer has been broadcast live in the U.S. nationally since the league's inception in 1996 and in Canada since 2007. In the United States the game is broadcast in English on ESPN (most games), ABC (select games; MLS Cup in odd-numbered years; 3 games in 2020 and 5 in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic), Fox, and Fox Sports 1, in Spanish on Univision Networks. In Canada, MLS is broadcast on TSN and DAZN in English and TVA Sports in French. Games not televised nationally are aired by regional sports networks or local broadcast television stations. Teams may also have a contract with a local radio broadcaster to air their games. Some teams air games exclusively in Spanish on radio, others have English only or an English and Spanish radio broadcaster.

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Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union are an American professional soccer club based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The Union compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the Eastern Conference. Founded on February 28, 2008, the club began playing in 2010 as an expansion team. The club's home stadium is Subaru Park, a soccer-specific stadium located in Chester, Pennsylvania on the banks of the Delaware River. The Union is currently owned by Keystone Sports & Entertainment, with Jay Sugarman serving as majority owner and chairman of the club. Professional basketball player Kevin Durant also serves as a minority owner. The club's current head coach is Jim Curtin. Curtin has been coaching the Union since 2014. The Union finished as runners-up in the 2014, 2015 and 2018 U.S. Open Cup tournaments. The club lost to Seattle Sounders FC 3–1 in extra time in 2014, and to Sporting Kansas City 6–7 on penalties after a 1–1 draw in the 2015 edition.

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