What is the Heritage Cup? What does it stand for and who is involved?
The San Jose Earthquakes were the first team in Major League Soccer to have kept the same name as a predecessor NASL club. Seattle Sounders FC, which entered the league in 2009, became the second. As an annual tradition, the two teams compete with one another for the Heritage Cup, using only their final two matchups of each season, with points earned as the deciding factor and aggregate score line as a tiebreaker.
For example, in 2015, San Jose and Seattle met three times, but only the final two matches count towards the hardware. After earning a 2-0 victory at CenturyLink Field on June 20 and then holding Sounders FC to a 1-1 draw at Avaya Stadium on Sept. 12, the Earthquakes prevailed and walked away with the beautiful trophy.
In total, the Quakes have won four of the seven Heritage Cups to date, including each of the last two. San Jose have even earned level points in two of their three losses, but fell on aggregate goals.
The Heritage Cup trophy was designed by Quakes fan Rob Stevenson and commissioned by San Jose's Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation in collaboration with Sounders FC supporters.
Like most competitions within MLS, Chris Wondolowski is the all-time leading scorer, having tallied five goals in Heritage Cup games alone. Quakes midfielder Shea Salinas leads the assist category with four.
Since inception, the Heritage Cup has been open to expanding with more MLS clubs that fit the NASL qualification, but both Portland and Vancouver declined entry. The possibility remains that the now two-team competition could add more clubs in the future.