MLS has announced an overhaul of its playoff system that will see more teams involved and a single-leg elimination format introduced from the 2019 season.
Fourteen teams will make up the revised postseason field, up from 12 this year in a nod to the league’s continued expansion – Los Angeles FC joined the league in 2018 and Cincinnati will compete for the first time next term.
The top seed from each conference will get a bye in the first round and will face the winner of the clash between the fourth and fifth seeds in the conference semi-finals.
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.
All between Oct/Nov FIFA breaks
Rewards regular-season success
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 17, 2018
By eliminating two-legged matches in the conference semi-finals and finals, the more streamlined bracket will fit entirely between FIFA’s October and November international breaks.
The 2019 regular season will conclude on October 6, about three weeks earlier than in 2018, with the playoffs set to start on October 19.
A date of November 10 has been set for the MLS Cup, which was played on December 8 this year.
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