MLS Cup Playoffs
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MLS Cup Playoffs
MLS Cup Playoffs
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Logo of the 2016 edition
Founded 1995
Region United States
Canada
Number of teams 12
Current champions Seattle Sounders FC (1st title)
2017 MLS Cup Playoffs

The MLS Cup Playoffs is the postseason elimination tournament of Major League Soccer held at the end of the regular season en route to the MLS Cup, the playoff championship game. Twelve teams in total from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference qualify for the tournament based on regular-season records, and a tiebreaking procedure exists in the case of equal records. Awarding a championship through a postseason tournament differs from most other soccer leagues around the world where the team with the most points at the end of the season is deemed champion. MLS awards the regular-season champions with the Supporters' Shield and a direct berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, the continental tournament. The regular-season champion must be a U.S.-based club in order to receive direct entry to Champions League. Since 2015 Audi is the official sponsor.

Playoff system

Since 2015, the top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs, playing in separate brackets. The first round of each conference has two play-in matches between the fourth- vs. fifth-place teams and the third- vs. sixth-, with the two higher seeds hosting. The lowest-seeded winner advances to play the conference's top seed, and the next-lowest playing the second in the Conference Semifinals. (This format matches that of the NFL Playoffs.)

The Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals are conducted in a home-and-away, aggregate-goal format. The team that scores the most goals in the home-and-away series advances to the two-game, total-goals Conference Finals or single-game MLS Cup Final, respectively. Since 2014 the away goals rule is used.[1][2] In both rounds the lower-seeded team hosts the first game and the higher-seeded team the second. If the teams are tied after two games (180 minutes) in the Conference Semifinals or Finals, the team which scored more goals away from home advances. If there is still a tie after the away goals rule is applied, 30 minutes of extra time (divided into two 15-minute periods) will be played followed by a penalty kick shootout, if necessary. The away goals rule does not apply to goals scored in extra time.

Qualification

12 teams qualify for the playoffs: the top six teams in each conference that have the most points in the standings at the end of the 34-game regular season.

The seeding is as follows:[3]

  • The top six teams in each conference are seeded first to sixth in their respective six-team playoff conference brackets.
  • Top two teams get byes; third through sixth place teams in each conference play in the first round.

Tie-breaking procedures

If two teams finish the regular season with an equal number of points, this criteria is used to break the tie. Coin tosses or draw of lots will be the last resort if all such tie-breaker steps fail.[4]

  1. more wins
  2. goal differential
  3. goals for
  4. fewer disciplinary points
  5. away goal differential
  6. away goals
  7. home goal differential
  8. home goals

Note:

  • Unlike past seasons, head-to-head competition results are not used in tie-breakers, since the 2012 season.[5]
  • If two clubs remain tied after another club with the same number of points advances during any step, the tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format.
  • Tiebreaker #7 (home goal differential) isn't used because if tied teams have the same goal differential (#2) and the same away goal differential (#5), then they must also have the same home goal differential. Similarly, Tiebreaker #8 (home goals) isn't used in breaking ties.

History

Seasons League teams Playoff teams
1996-1997 10 8
1998-2001 12 8
2002-2004 10 8
2005-2006 12 8
2007 13 8
2008 14 8
2009 15 8
2010 16 8
2011 18 10
2012-2014 19 10
2015-2016 20 12
2017 22 12
2018 23 TBD

MLS playoff records

  • Win-Loss-Draw records include all knock out playoff matches, individual home-and-home playoff matches, and MLS Cup appearances.
Legend
Games to be played
Defunct team

Records

  • Matches determined by shoot out counted as win-loss, not draw
As of November 6, 2017
MLS Cup playoff club records
Club MLS Cups MLS Cup
Apps
Win Loss Draw
Atlanta United FC 0 0 0 1 0
Chicago Fire 1 3 20 16 5
Chivas USA 0 0 1 4 3
Colorado Rapids 1 2 15 20 3
Columbus Crew 1 2 18 22 4
D.C. United 4 5 29 12 5
FC Dallas 0 1 14 23 6
Houston Dynamo 2 4 17 8 6
LA Galaxy 5 9 42 24 6
Miami Fusion 0 0 3 7 0
Minnesota United FC 0 0 0 0 0
Montreal Impact 0 0 6 3 0
New England Revolution 0 5 17 17 7
New York City FC 0 0 1 3 0
New York Red Bulls 0 1 17 23 8
Orlando City SC 0 0 0 0 0
Philadelphia Union 0 0 0 3 0
Portland Timbers 1 1 6 3 3
Real Salt Lake 1 2 9 9 4
San Jose Earthquakes 2 2 13 11 1
Seattle Sounders FC 1 1 12 10 5
Sporting Kansas City 2 3 18 22 6
Tampa Bay Mutiny 0 0 2 9 0
Toronto FC 0 1 5 4 0
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 0 1 4 2

Appearances

As of October 22, 2017
MLS Playoff Appearance Records
Club MLS Playoff
Apps
Active
Streak
Longest
Streak
Atlanta United FC 1 1 1
Chicago Fire 13 1 6
Chivas USA 4 0 4
Colorado Rapids 13 0 5
Columbus Crew SC 14 1 4
D.C. United 13 0 4
FC Dallas 15 0 7
Houston Dynamo 8 1 4
LA Galaxy 18 0 10
Miami Fusion 3 0 2
Minnesota United FC 0 0 0
Montreal Impact 3 0 2
New England Revolution 13 0 8
New York City FC 2 2 2
New York Red Bulls 18 8 8
Orlando City SC 0 0 0
Philadelphia Union 2 0 1
Portland Timbers 3 1 1
Real Salt Lake 8 0 7
San Jose Earthquakes 9 1 5
Seattle Sounders FC 9 9 9
Sporting Kansas City 16 7 7
Tampa Bay Mutiny 4 0 2
Toronto FC 3 3 3
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4 1 2

MLS playoff shoot outs

Legend
Won
Lost
  • MLS began implementing a shoot out to determine the winner of a playoff series in 2004.
  • Since 2014 the Away goals rule has been used.
As of October 27, 2017

1 - Game played at neutral location

See also

References

  1. ^ "Major League Soccer to introduce away-goals rule for first time in 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs". MLS. March 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ "MLS adopts away goals rule". ESPN. March 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  3. ^ 2015 Competition Rules and Regulations, MLS, retrieved 2015 
  4. ^ "Competition Rules and Regulations". Retrieved 2016. 
  5. ^ "New tiebreakers designed to encourage attacking play". MLS Communications. MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved 2012. 

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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