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.
New York City FC are the reigning cup-holders, having defeated the Portland Timbers in the 2021 final. The Los Angeles Galaxy hold the record for most MLS Cup titles, having won five times in nine appearances. The championship has been won by the same team in two or more consecutive years on three occasions, and the match has featured consecutive sets of finalists on three occasions. Eight teams have also won "the double", claiming the MLS Cup and either the Supporters' Shield, the U.S. Open Cup, or the Canadian Championship during the same season; only Toronto FC has won a treble, having achieved it in 2017.
The highest recorded attendance for the MLS Cup was set in the 2018 final, with 73,019 spectators at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1996 to 2008, the MLS Cup was broadcast in the United States on terrestrial network ABC. It was moved to sister channel ESPN for the following seven editions; since 2015, ESPN and Fox have held rights to alternating editions of the cup. The 2019 cup, originally slated to be broadcast on ESPN, was moved to ABC.