USL Championship Final

The USL Championship Final, formerly the USL Cup, is the post-season championship match of the USL Championship, the second tier of professional men's soccer in the United States. The winner is crowned champion in the same manner as in other North American sports leagues (i.e. via a playoff following a regular season). This differs from other top soccer leagues around the world which consider the club with the most points at the end of the season to be the sole champion. USL honors that achievement with the USL Shield.

USL Championship Final
RegionUSL Championship (CONCACAF)
Current championsLouisville City
(2nd title)
Most successful club(s)Louisville City and Orlando City
(2 titles each)
Television broadcastersESPN+
2019 USL Championship Playoffs

Unlike most soccer league, but much like North American sports leagues, the USL champions does not earn promotion into Major League Soccer, due to the fixed membership structure found in the league. Also players receive no prize money from the league for winning it.

The original USL Championship dates back to 2005 with the now-defunct USL First Division, which served as a predecessor to the current USL. Today the USL Cup is typically held in mid-November, featuring the winners of the Eastern Conference Championship and Western Conference Championship.


A-League Era (1995–2004)

Season Winner Score Runner-up Top Goalscorer Team Goals
1995 Seattle Sounders 2–1 (SO) Atlanta Ruckus Peter Hattrup Seattle Sounders 11
1996 Seattle Sounders 2–0 Rochester Raging Rhinos Doug Miller Rochester Raging Rhinos 18
1997 Milwaukee Rampage 1–1 (SO) Carolina Dynamo Doug Miller Rochester Raging Rhinos 23
1998 Rochester Raging Rhinos 3–1 Minnesota Thunder Mark Baena Seattle Sounders 24
1999 Minnesota Thunder 2–1 Rochester Raging Rhinos Mark Baena and Niall Thompson Seattle Sounders and Vancouver 86ers 20
2000 Rochester Raging Rhinos 3–1 Minnesota Thunder Paul Conway, Greg Howes, and Johnny Menyongar Charleston Battery, Seattle Sounders, and Minnesota Thunder 17
2001 Rochester Raging Rhinos 2–0 Hershey Wildcats Paul Conway Charleston Battery 22
2002 Milwaukee Rampage 2–1 (2OT) Richmond Kickers Fadi Afash, Eduardo Sebrango, and McKinley Tennyson Portland Timbers, Montreal Impact, and Portland Timbers 18
2003 Charleston Battery 3–0 Minnesota Thunder Thiago Martins Pittsburgh Riverhounds 22
2004 Montreal Impact 2–0 Seattle Sounders Alan Gordon and Dante Washington Portland Timbers and Virginia Beach Mariners 17

USL-1 Era (2005–2009)

Season Winner Score Runner-up Top Goalscorer(s) Team Goals
2005 Seattle Sounders 1–1 (PK) Richmond Kickers Jason Jordan Vancouver Whitecaps 17
2006 Vancouver Whitecaps 3–0 Rochester Raging Rhinos Romário and Cam Weaver Miami FC and Seattle Sounders 18
2007 Seattle Sounders 4–0 Atlanta Silverbacks Sébastien Le Toux and Charles Gbeke Seattle Sounders and Montreal Impact 10
2008 Vancouver Whitecaps 2–1 Puerto Rico Islanders Alex Afonso Miami FC 15
2009 Montreal Impact 6–3 Vancouver Whitecaps Charles Gbeke Vancouver Whitecaps 12

USL Era (2010–)

Season Champions Score Runners–up Venue Attendance MVP
2011 Orlando City  2–2 † Harrisburg City Islanders Citrus Bowl 11,220 Sean Kelley (ORL)
2012 Charleston Battery 1–0 Wilmington Hammerheads Blackbaud Stadium 4,963 Jose Cuevas (CHB)
2013 Orlando City 7–4 Charlotte Eagles Citrus Bowl 20,886 Dom Dwyer (ORL)
2014 Sacramento Republic 2–0 Harrisburg City Islanders Bonney Field 8,000 Rodrigo López (SAC)
2015 Rochester Rhinos 2–1 * LA Galaxy II Sahlen's Stadium 5,247 Asani Samuels (ROC)
2016 New York Red Bulls II 5–1 Swope Park Rangers Red Bull Arena 5,547 Brandon Allen (NYRB)
2017 Louisville City FC 1–0 Swope Park Rangers Louisville Slugger Field 14,456 Paolo DelPiccolo (LOU)
2018 Louisville City FC 1–0 Phoenix Rising FC Lynn Stadium 7,025 Luke Spencer (LOU)
2019 Real Monarchs SLC 3-1 Louisville City FC Lynn Stadium 7,025 Konrad Plewa (SLC)
Match decided by a penalty shootout after extra time
* Match decided in extra time

Records and statistics

USL Championship titles

As of the 2019 season, 49 teams have competed in USL under its current branding. Twelve of these teams have appeared in a cup final, with six of these teams having won the USL Cup.

Club Winner Runner-up Years won Years runner-up
Louisville City FC 2 1 2017, 2018 2019
Orlando City SC 2 0 2011, 2013
Charleston Battery 1 0 2012
Sacramento Republic FC 1 0 2014
Rochester Rhinos 1 0 2015
New York Red Bulls II 1 0 2016
Real Monarchs SLC 1 0 2019
Penn FC [lower-roman 1] 0 2 2011, 2014
Sporting Kansas City II [lower-roman 2] 0 2 2016, 2017
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 0 1 2012
Charlotte Eagles 0 1 2013
LA Galaxy II 0 1 2015
Phoenix Rising FC 0 1 2018
Winner USL Cup champions
Bold Regular season champions
Italics No longer plays in the USL Championship
  1. as Harrisburg City Islanders
  2. as Swope Park Rangers

See also


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