Supporters' Shield Awarded for Regular season champion Presented by Major League Soccer First awarded 1999 Currently held by Los Angeles Galaxy (4th title)
The Supporters' Shield is an annual award given to the Major League Soccer team with the best regular season record, as determined by the MLS points system. Akin to the Australasian A-League's premiership, and similar to the President's Trophy of the NHL, the Supporters' Shield has been annually awarded at the MLS Supporters' Summit since 1999, and has been recognized as a major trophy by the league. Since 2006, the Supporters' Shield winner has earned a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Supporters' Fundraiser Trophy
When Major League Soccer had its inaugural season in 1996, the league resembled its contemporary North American leagues. Subsequent to the regular season, the campaign culminated with the MLS Cup Playoffs, en route to the league's championship match, the MLS Cup. The club with the best regular season record received nothing more than the top seed in the playoffs.
Though the original creator of the Shield is unknown, it has been reported that it was a Tampa Bay Mutiny fan, possibly in result to the Mutiny earning the best regular season record, but failing to win the 1996 MLS Cup final. Originally, the idea was to call the award the "Scudetto", an allude to the champions of the Italian Serie A, but it was met with little praise. Consequently, nothing in terms of an award materialized.
The following year, another group led by a soccer enthusiast Sam Pierron tried to revive the idea by giving an award to the regular season champions. Since MLS refused to fund the idea, Pierron began fundraising to purchase a trophy with the help of supporters from various MLS clubs to purchase a trophy. Fundraising was boosted with the assistance of ESPN's MLS commentator (at the time) Phil Schoen donating for the award. In the end, nearly $3,000 was donated to purchase a trophy, which ended up costing $2,200.
The money donated to create and purchase the trophy was not fulfilled until the tail end of the 1999 season, when the second MLS Supporters' Summit was held. At the summit, the Los Angeles Galaxy were awarded with the first ever Shield. Also engraved on the Shield were the previous winners of the award from 1996 through 1998.
Shield Begins to be Presented
Since the 2000 season, the system of awarding points in the MLS is the same as the international standard, three points for a win, one for a draw, and no points for a loss. In the event of an end-of-season tie in total accumulated points, the win-loss record of head-to-head matchups between the tied teams is used as the first tiebreaker, goal difference as the second, and the total number of goals scored as the third.
Should these measures fail to resolve the tie, the fourth breaker takes the previous methods and applies them only to away games, the fifth does the same for games played at home, the sixth awards the title to the team with the fewest disciplinary points, and, failing that, the seventh and final tiebreaker is a coin toss. These are standard MLS regulations for breaking ties in point totals.
Throughout the early to mid-2000's, the Shield received little praise or recognition from MLS or the general public, as the league awarded the MLS Cup winner and runner-up with spots in continental tournaments.
First Shield Incentives Arrive
In February 2006, USSF decided that the Supporters' Shield winner and the MLS Cup winner would represent the United States in the CONCACAF Champions League, formerly the CONCACAF Champions' Cup. If the Supporters Shield winner also wins the MLS Cup, the team with the second highest regular season point total qualifies as well.
When the Champions Cup became the CONCACAF Champions League, the United States Soccer Federation gave the Supporters' Shield winner and the MLS Cup winner both direct Group Stage spots into the tournament.
On five occasions (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2008) the winner of the Supporters' Shield has also gone on to win the MLS Cup that same year.
In 2011, the league announced that the Shield winner's opponent in the MLS Cup quarterfinals would be the lowest-seeded team remaining.
In February 2011, Major League Soccer announced that any of their teams that participate in the CONCACAF Champions League would receive an undisclosed amount of additional allocation money, mainly to add squad depth to their rosters. Indirectly, since the Shield winner earns a CCL berth, this marked the first time in league history that the Supporters' Shield winner would receive some type of financial incentive for winning the regular season title.
Winners^ Team lost in the MLS Cup final.
Year Winner Record Points[B] Playoff Result Win # W L T[A] 1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny 20 12 — 58 Lost Conference Final (DC) 1 1997 D.C. United 21 11 — 55 Won MLS Cup* 1 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy 24 8 — 68 Lost Conference Final (CHI) 1 1999 D.C. United 23 9 — 57 Won MLS Cup* 2 2000 Kansas City Wizards 16 7 9 57 Won MLS Cup* 1 2001 Miami Fusion 16 5 5 53 Lost Semifinal (SJ) 1 2002 Los Angeles Galaxy 16 9 3 51 Won MLS Cup* 2 2003 Chicago Fire 15 7 8 53 Lost MLS Cup (SJ)^ 1 2004 Columbus Crew 12 5 13 49 Lost Conference Semifinals (NE)# 1 2005 San Jose Earthquakes 18 4 10 64 Lost Conference Semifinals (LA)# 1 2006 D.C. United 15 7 10 55 Lost Conference Final (NE) 3 2007 D.C. United 16 7 7 55 Lost Conference Semifinals (CHI)# 4 2008 Columbus Crew 17 7 6 57 Won MLS Cup* 2 2009 Columbus Crew 13 7 10 49 Lost Conference Semifinals (RSL)# 3 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy 18 7 5 59 Lost Conference Final (FCD) 3 2011 Los Angeles Galaxy 19 5 10 67 In MLS Cup 4
Number of wins per team Total wins Team 4 Los Angeles Galaxy D.C. United 3 Columbus Crew 1 Tampa Bay Mutiny Kansas City Wizards Miami Fusion Chicago Fire San Jose Earthquakes
- Defunct teams in italics.
Shield premiers' records in CONCACAF competition
Champions Runners-up Third place
- QR1 = Qualification First Round
- PR = Preliminary round
- GS = Group Stage
- R16 = Round of 16
- QF = Quarterfinals
- SF = Semifinals or Consolation match
- F = Final
Season Premier Result 1997 Did not qualify 1998 1999 Los Angeles Galaxy QR1 2000 D.C. United SF 2002 Kansas City Wizards SF 2003 Los Angeles Galaxy QF 2004 Did not qualify 2005 2006 2007 D.C. United SF 2008 D.C. United SF 2008–09 D.C. United GS 2009–10 Columbus Crew QF 2010–11 Columbus Crew QF 2011–12 Los Angeles Galaxy In progress 2012–13 Los Angeles Galaxy TBD
- MLS Cup
- List of North American soccer champions
- A. ^ From 1996 until 1999, tied games were decided by a golden goal, culminating with a shootout
- B. ^ From 1996 to 1999, 3 points were awarded for a win in 90 minutes, 1 point for a shootout win, and 0 point for a loss in 90 minutes or shootout. Since the 2000 season, 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 point for a loss.
- ^ Doyle, Matthew (October 8, 2011). "LA clinch 2nd straight Supporters' Shield with Seattle loss". Major League Soccer. MLSsoccer.com. http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2011/10/08/la-take-2nd-straight-supporters-shield-seattle-loss. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- ^ Gates, Ryan (February 15, 2011). "A History of the Supporter's Shield". Stumptown Footy. http://www.stumptownfooty.com/2011/2/15/1995978/a-history-of-the-supporters-shield. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
- ^ MLS Cup Playoff Format and Team-Standings Tie-Breakers
- ^ Meagher, Tom (February 23, 2006). "Jeepers, Some Wishes Really Do Come True!". We Call it Soccer. Archived from the original on December 30, 2006. http://www.wecallitsoccer.com/archives/001032.html. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- ^ MLS announces competition changes for 2006
- ^ The playoff format has changed over the years. See MLS Cup Playoffs for more information.
- Supporters' Shield Info on MLSnet.com
- What is the Supporters Shield?
- SUPPORTERS SHIELD Site
- MLS: Setting the Table
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