MLS makes major changes to its clunky playoff format

MLS Playoff bracket

Major League Soccer changes playoff format increases number of teams

After then-US coach Jurgen Klinsmann criticised the league's season as being too short, MLS stretched the schedule into December each year starting in 2012. The most recent format was comprised of an initial, single-elimination knockout round followed by conference semifinals and finals that were contested over two legs.

As MLS has grown with expansion franchises, the playoff participants will also increase. Klinsmann was sacked in November 2016. Klinsmann said in 2011.

Teams will not be re-seeded based on upsets during postseason matches, as they have in the past, and the higher seed will be the host in each round, offering a greater reward for their regular-season performance. The new format gives more of a home-field advantage to teams that finished the with the best record during the regular season. You're in luck. The 24-team league announced a new, single-elimination format for the playoffs on Monday, doing away with aggregate scoring and increasing the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14. Each of the two conference winners will get first-round byes and be joined in the conference semifinals by the winners of the three first-round series.

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The MLS regular season will continue to consist of 34 games, beginning in early March as usual.

Compatible with World Cup 2022: The new postseason format timing will conclude prior to World Cup 2022, which begins in Qatar on November 21.

The October FIFA break will now take place between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, allowing teams ample time to promote home playoff dates.

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The league said the changes resulted from discussions throughout the year with team owners, general managers, television partners and other officials.

The 2019 MLS season begins March 2.

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