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MLS updates playoff format for 2020

Everything about 2020 is different, even the playoffs.

SOCCER: DEC 07 MLS Cup - Galaxy v Revolution Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Once again we’re going to see some changes to the MLS Cup Playoffs. MLS revealed the updated qualification for this year’s playoffs, largely due to how this year has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The MLS Cup Playoffs will once again consist of single-elimination matches hosted by the higher-seeded team and the competition will follow a straight bracket format through MLS Cup on Dec. 12.

The new twist this year is in how many teams will advance to the playoffs. Following Nashville SC’s move to the Eastern Conference at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, 18 total clubs will compete in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs: 10 from East, 8 from West.

In the Western Conference, the top eight teams will qualify directly to Round 1. In the Eastern Conference, only the top 6 seeds qualify directly to Round 1. Seeds 7-10 will each compete in a play-in match:

  • No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 seed
  • No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed
  • Lowest seed play-in winner advances to face No. 1 seed in East
  • Highest seed play-in winner advances to face No. 2 seed in West

The complete playoff match schedule and postseason TV coverage will be announced at a later date.

Now that this has been updated, FC Dallas currently sits just outside the playoff zone in the Western Conference. But with games in hand, they can easily make of the difference (currently is just two points behind LAFC for 8th place).

What do you make of the new format for 2020? Happy to see one more teams in? Or disappointed that the playoffs didn’t see a smaller field?