With expansion in Major League Soccer has also brought expanded playoff fields. SI.com is reporting on Saturday that MLS will look to bring in two more teams into the playoff field next year as the league hits 20 clubs overall.
For the last four years, MLS has used a 10 team playoff field with a knockout round for the fourth and fifth place teams in each conference. According to the report, the field will expand to 12 teams, adding one additional knockout round game to the mix. Here is how things will look, which will be very NFL-like:
Starting next season, the third-place team in each conference will host the sixth seed in one single-elimination game while No. 4 hosts No. 5 in the other. The four conference semifinalists then will be reseeded to ensure the first-place finisher faces off against the lowest-ranked knockout round survivor. The bracket will look like the one used in the NFL since 1990.
The Eastern and Western conference semifinals and finals will remain as two-game series featuring the away-goals tiebreaker. The MLS Cup final will remain a single match.
What does this really mean in the grand scheme of things? Basically had this been in place this year, teams like Portland and Philadelphia would have reached the post season.
In some ways this isn't that big of a deal as long as the league doesn't do anything crazy once they get to 24 clubs in 2020. This model means 60% of the clubs in the league will get into the playoffs, a far cry from the eight out of 10 that once reached the post season way back in the early days of the league.
I also like that this add some importance to placing in the top two seeds in the conference.
What do you all think of this move? Will it be a big deal or is the league making a bad move?