Throughout the annals of Major League Soccer, there have been some fabulous teams who’ve gone on to win the MLS Cup and etch their name in American Soccer history. But today, we’re looking at the complete opposite as we list 10 of the worst teams to have played in the division. It’s nothing personal, however, as they were just so bad they were the worst MLS teams of all time.
Worst MLS teams of all time
So, these clubs sort of earned a spot in the history books too, albeit through unwanted history.
FC Cincinnati, 2020
Ok, so some of the earlier teams from Major League Soccer infancy get the recognition that with fewer teams and fewer fixtures, there were only so many chances to get points on the board.
However, in 2020 FC Cincinnati couldn’t argue that case. There were 25 other teams to try to defeat yet this team, managed by Jaap Stam, couldn’t get going. They amassed a total of 16 points as they comfortably finished last in the overall standings.
Tampa Bay Mutiny, 2001
Long before Inter Miami CF and Orlando City there was the Tampa Bay Mutiny. The team was famous for winning the inaugural 1996 Major League Soccer season and even signing the iconic Carlos Valderrama, one of the greatest MLS players, shortly after.
However, the new millennium wasn’t kind to the Mutiny as the team won just four games in the 2001 season and finished with 14 points. Subsequently, the owners didn’t want to keep the club (amid financial issues) and after they couldn’t sell it to any potential suitor, they ceased playing in the league altogether.
Another one of the lowest MLS points totals sits with the MetroStars. The team that would become the New York Red Bulls struggled in 1999 as they couldn’t replace the departing Giovanni Savarese.
This led to just four wins in the season, culminating in a lowly 15-point tally.
Chivas USA, 2005
Guadalajara, a team from Mexico, thought it would be a good idea to have a splinter cell team in California. Thinking that a team north of the border would benefit all parties.
For most of their existence, Chivas USA showed up on multiple articles lists of naming and shaming bad MLS teams.
It started on a bad note as their inaugural season in 2005 saw them finish rock bottom of both the conference and overall standings with just 18 points. While they stuck at it, the team eventually folded after the 2014 season.
Dallas Burn, 2003
A few years before re-branding to the FC Dallas name, Dallas Burn endured a scolding season in which every opponent seemed to get the better of them. The Burn was so bad that almost every other team in the Western Conference finished with a positive goal difference because the Burn conceded very heavily. Ouch!
They ended up with -29 and rock bottom in the standings. The LA Galaxy finished one place above them but with a 0 goal difference. Yowza, that’s the ultimate worst MLS team of all time contention.
New York Red Bulls, 2009
The season before Thierry Henry joined the New York Red Bulls was a tragic old year for the franchise. The team endured a 13-game winless run which included six defeats in a row as they became the definition of a bad MLS team.
They needed a talismanic striker as they also finished the 2009 season as the team with the fewest amount of goals with just 27 scored in 30 games.
DC United, 2010
Well before Wayne Rooney dreamed of relocating to America, DC United was out there at RFK Stadium, struggling.
The 2010 season was a poor year all round in the league as the team finished bottom of Major League Soccer but surprisingly made it to the semi-finals of the US Open Cup.
DC United, 2013
Three years on, DC United wasn’t much better off. Still playing their football at the dreadful RFK, the team didn’t have much to cheer as they finished bottom of all 19 clubs, again.
Supporters did however get to see MLS icon Dwayne De Rosario score eight goals for the club, however.
Toronto FC, 2012
Hang on, isn’t Toronto supposed to be one of the best teams in MLS history? That’s what attracted the superstars to Canada in 2023. Well, yes they won the 2017 MLS Cup. But five years before they were performing like one of the worst MLS teams of all time.
The team started the season poorly, losing its first nine games and ended pretty badly too with no win in its last 14, winning just four matches between the two ends of the campaign. Torsten Frings, a former German international, was supposed to star in this team but seldom changed the proceedings.
San Jose Earthquakes, 2018
The San Jose Earthquakes endured a torrid season in which they struggled to keep pace with all of the other teams in both the Western Conference and wider Major League Soccer.
Despite Valeri Qazaishvili and Chris Wondolowski scoring 10 goals each, the team still won a lowly four games all season (from a 34-game season), accumulating a somber 21-point tally.