The greatest MLS rivalries - ranked

Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy, otherwise known as El Trafico, is the newest rivalry to join MLS.
Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy, otherwise known as El Trafico, is the newest rivalry to join MLS. / Harry How/Getty Images

In just 25 years, MLS has inspired some phenomenal rivalries.

Some derbies might be newer than others, but the clashes always deliver fiery action.

Here's the top modern rivalries in Major League Soccer, ranked.

4. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers 

Hunter Sulte
This one has some history attached to it / Abbie Parr/Getty Images

This rivalry goes back decades - the teams first played each other in 1975, predating MLS.

It wasn't until their meeting in 2009, however, that their modern rivalry truly began. The two sides have faced each other a total of 99 times, with Seattle holding the upper hand by winning 53 derbies. 

Off the pitch, the clashes often get personal quickly as loyal supporters don’t shy away from confrontation. 

3. CF Montreal vs. Toronto FC

2017 Canadian Championship - Toronto FC v Montreal Impact - Leg 2
These rivalries can get heated... / Adam Pulicicchio/Getty Images

The Canadian Classique is a crowd favorite.

A rivalry spanning beyond MLS or NHL, this is political and cultural. These two sides will fight to intense depths to be crowned Canada's best MLS team.

The derby began in 2010, after the Montreal Impact was founded, and intensified in 2015 when Toronto FC edged out their competitor and defeated the Impact in the Eastern Conference finals.

2. New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United 

Dru Yearwood, Mohammed Abu
These two teams are MLS founding members / Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

It is almost impossible to write about MLS rivalries without considering D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls. As founding members of the league, these two teams have clashed since day one, literally.

Spanning 25 years and 97 meetings, drama is still guaranteed at every match. D.C. United stands superior with 44 wins over the Red Bulls’ 36 (17 draws shared).

The two have yet to face each other this season, but fans can expect a fiery clash with unparalleled action. 

1. LA Galaxy vs LAFC

Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy
Galaxy currently have the edge in this one / Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Though this might be MLS' newest rivalry, it is by far the most anticipated.

It started in 2018 after the inception of LAFC threatened Galaxy's stance as the only major team in the city. Though located merely miles apart, the city's chaos during each meeting inspired the nickname El Trafico.

Beyond the streets, the supporters contribute immensely to the game's atmosphere. Both sides boast some of the most passionate fans, creating a fiery dynamic on game day.

This derby has seen the likes of Chicharito and Zlatan Ibrahimovic face Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. With 10 meetings total, LA Galaxy remains in front with four overall victories.