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Votes Are Mixed (At Best) By Fans on the New MLS Playoff Format

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In a move that shocked much of the fans across Major League Soccer, MLS changed it’s playoff format ironically just days before the start of the season. To recap in as few words as possible:

  • #1 seed no longer has a bye.
  • 8th & 9th seeds have a one game Play-In playoff (in the event of a tie, immediately to penalty kicks) & face the #1 seed.
  • Round 1 from there is a Best of 3 format – 1vs8/9, 2vs7, 3vs6, 4vs5. Additionally, like the Play-In format, no extra time in the event of a tie. It’s direct to penalty kicks.
  • From then on, every playoff round is single game elimination.

Under this new format, with 18 out of the now 29 teams, or 62%, will make the playoffs. Previously, only 14 of the then 28 (50%) would make the playoffs. The chief complaint from many including myself is it waters down reaching the postseason and removes the accomplishment of moving on, while other argued that going right to PKs removes the joy of added play. The rationale for expanded playoffs is simple, more games equals better ratings and more ad revenue. This mentality is why the NFL added a 17th week and MLB increased the Wild Card round from single elimination to best of 3. And with the new 10 year deal with Apple, I say it’s at least plausible that this Best of 3 first round could expand to the rest of the playoffs, even ending with a best of 5 for the MLS Finals. It’s a reach, but anyone reading this could at least argue IT’S POSSIBLE. Welcome to December soccer in New England.

Average Soccer Fan on Reddit In Reaction To The New Playoff Rules
Credit: Shutterstock

Not everyone was completely down on it. Some praised the idea of the home/away/home format for the best of 3, giving the higher seeded team a deserved advantage which is a solid approach IMO. But that aside, few seemed happy with the new format. But in the end, what choice do they have but accept it and move on. At least that’s what MLS & Apple expect from them.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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