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The Most Memorable MLS Moments


As Major League Soccer has been around for decades now, it’s easy to forget how far it has come. It’s always fascinating to look back at the incredible moments that have defined the league’s rich history.

From unforgettable goals to thrilling victories and poignant turning points, MLS has had its fair share of memorable events. Here, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the best moments in league history.

10. Minnesota United’s Miracle Playoff Win

In 2020, Minnesota United defied all odds and secured a stunning playoff win over Sporting Kansas City. Trailing 0-2 in the final minutes of the game, Minnesota scored two goals in stoppage time to force a penalty shootout. Ultimately, the Loons triumphed in the shootout, securing their spot in the Western Conference Final. This miraculous comeback will forever be etched in the memories of soccer fans across the nation.

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s MLS Debut

The arrival of Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2018 was met with excitement and anticipation. In his first match for the LA Galaxy, he came off the bench and scored two incredible goals, including a jaw-dropping 40-yard volley, to lead his team to a 4-3 victory over cross-town rivals LAFC. Zlatan’s remarkable debut remains one of the most memorable moments in league history.

8. Portland Timbers Win Their First MLS Cup

Portland Timbers Win MLS Cup 2015
From MLS

In 2015, the Portland Timbers claimed their first-ever MLS Cup in dramatic fashion. After a thrilling playoff run, the Timbers faced the Columbus Crew in the final. The match started with an unforgettable moment, as Portland scored just 27 seconds into the game, setting the stage for a historic victory. The Timbers eventually won 2-1, with captain Diego Valeri earning the match MVP award.

7. Josef Martinez’s Record-Breaking Season

In 2018, Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez enjoyed a record-breaking season that saw him score 31 goals in the regular season, shattering the previous MLS record of 27. The Venezuelan striker’s remarkable goal-scoring exploits played a crucial role in Atlanta’s successful season, which culminated in the club winning its first MLS Cup.

6. Landon Donovan’s Final MLS Cup Win

One of the most iconic players in American soccer history, Landon Donovan, had a fitting farewell in 2014. In his final match for the LA Galaxy, Donovan helped secure the team’s fifth MLS Cup, defeating the New England Revolution in extra time. The game-winning goal came from Robbie Keane, but it was Donovan’s illustrious career and emotional exit that captivated fans around the world.

5. Toronto FC’s Treble-Winning Season

Toronto FC enjoyed a historic 2017 season, becoming the first MLS team to win a domestic treble. The Canadian club won the MLS Cup, the Supporters’ Shield, and the Canadian Championship in a single season, setting a new standard for success in the league. Their MLS Cup victory over the Seattle Sounders was particularly memorable, as they avenged their loss in the previous year’s final.

4. Thierry Henry’s Bicycle Kick Goal

French legend Thierry Henry provided one of the most iconic moments in MLS history during his tenure with the New York Red Bulls. In 2013, Henry scored an incredible bicycle kick goal against the Montreal Impact, showcasing his world-class talent and skill. The moment instantly went viral and remains one of the most memorable goals in league history.

3. Atlanta United’s Record-Breaking Attendance

Atlanta United made history in 2018 by setting a new MLS attendance record in a regular-season match against the Seattle Sounders. A staggering 72,243 fans filled Mercedes-Benz Stadium, showcasing the growing popularity of soccer in the United States. The impressive attendance figures have continued to be a testament to the passionate support that Atlanta United and the league have garnered over the years.

2. The Decision Day Drama of 2018

The final day of the 2018 MLS regular season, known as Decision Day, was packed with drama and excitement as several teams vied for playoff spots and seeding. The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake were both in contention for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Despite being up 2-0 against the Houston Dynamo, the Galaxy conceded three goals in the second half, eventually losing the match and their playoff spot. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake, who had completed their regular-season matches and had no control over their fate, celebrated as they secured a spot in the playoffs.

1. The Inaugural El Tráfico Derby

The first-ever meeting between the LA Galaxy and LAFC, dubbed “El Tráfico,” took place in 2018 and quickly became one of the most memorable matches in MLS history. The game had it all: passion, high stakes, and an incredible comeback. LAFC took a commanding 3-0 lead, but the Galaxy fought back with four unanswered goals, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s unforgettable brace on his debut. The thrilling 4-3 victory for the LA Galaxy set the tone for a fierce and exciting rivalry that has captured the imagination of soccer fans in Los Angeles and beyond.

These memorable moments have played a significant role in shaping the league’s history and have created lasting memories for soccer fans across the nation. As Major League Soccer continues to grow, we can look forward to even more unforgettable moments in the future.