A few days ago, I became fascinated by the idea of using the "title match" format for a soccer trophy. Basically, a "title match" format is the format that they typically use in boxing. If you beat the current champion, you become the new champion. So I decided to come up with a set of rules for it, and figure out how it would have worked out for MLS. Rules: You must win in order to take control of the trophy. This means if you currently hold it, then a draw is enough to retain it. If a game featured extra time, the result at the end of that is what counts. If a game featured a penalty shootout, but the individual game hadn't been a tie, the penalty shootout is ignored. An example would be if the trophy went into the RSL/POR game this Sunday, and Portland was ahead by 2 goals at the end of the extra time, Portland would get the trophy, even if RSL won the penalty shootout which followed. If the individual game had been tied just before the penalty shootout, the penalty shootout counts. If a team folds while holding the trophy, the most recent champion still playing gets it. If a team relocates, the trophy relocates with them. All US & Canadian Leagues I started off with including all MLS regular season and playoff games, as well as games in the US Open Cup and Canadian Championship. I also decided that if a lower league team won it, then their league matches would count. As I was iterating through this one, I ran into an issue where New England held the trophy in 2000 when they lost to a PDL team in the US Open Cup. This made things very difficult because there was basically no way to dig up all of the PDL league match results that far back. Because of this, I decided to give New England a break, and made a ruling that, at that time, the trophy would only be able to be won by professional clubs. The issue never arose again. The final result of this is that Sporting Kansas City currently holds the trophy. Because the trophy will go to the winner of the 2nd leg Eastern Conference Champion, it will then go to the MLS Cup, and go to that champion at the end of the year. LA has held the trophy the most, having it for 76 games. Dallas is in second with 57. All of MLS's 21 clubs have held the trophy at some point in their history. However, Vancouver only held it while a D2 team. On three occasions, the trophy ended the season in the hands lower division clubs. All MLS official games My next investigation was to keep it wholly within the MLS, and exclude games from the US Open Cup and Canadian Championship entirely. Again, Sporting Kansas City came out as the current holder of the trophy. Interestingly, the end of season holder was always the same for the seasons that it had ended in MLS in the previous investigation. LA has one again held the trophy the most, with 81 games. However, Kansas City jumps up into second with 72 games. All of MLS's 21 clubs have held the trophy at some point in their history, except for Vancouver. MLS regular season games only My final investigation was to limit it only to regular season games. The playoffs tended to force the trophy to the MLS Cup holder at the end of the season, so I wondered how different things would be if the playoff games were ignored. Sporting Kansas City, yet again, is the current holder. In this case, however, since the regular season is over, they are the holder for the offseason. As it turns out, the holder at the end of the regular season always ended up being the same as it had been before the playoffs in the prior case. Kansas City has held it the most times in this situation, with 80 games. LA is in second with 49. All of MLS's 21 clubs have held the trophy at some point in their history, except for Vancouver. Reverse title match trophy Finally, I got the idea of creating a wooden spoon type trophy which is basically the opposite of a title match trophy. The rules were the same, except for #1: You must win to force the trophy onto another poor sap. This means that if you currently hold it, a draw will force you to keep it. I only included regular season games. I excluded the US Open Cup, because if you didn't, it would quickly be sent down into the amateur levels, and never be seen again. I also excluded the playoffs, mostly just because. The current holders of this inauspicious trophy: Chivas USA. All of MLS's 21 clubs have held the trophy at some point in their MLS history. Seattle and Portland have held it the least, only holding it for one game each, and then sending it on its way in their next match. New England has held it for the most number of matches at 51. If, however, you figure out the average number of matches/season each team has held it, Toronto shoots into the lead with just shy of 5/season. Personally, I really like the idea of using this last one as an actual trophy. In discussing it with a friend, we came up with the idea of using a beat up old tin cup as the "trophy". When "awarding" it to a different team's supporters, we figured that it should be filled with some really crappy beer, so they can start drowning their sorrows. Obviously, though, the logistics of moving the trophy around between teams make it unlikely that it will ever really be a thing, but the idea amuses me.