MLS Cup Playoffs

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MLS Cup Playoffs
Founded 1995
Region United States
Canada
Number of teams 10
Current champions Los Angeles Galaxy (5 titles)
Most successful club(s) Los Angeles Galaxy (5 titles)
2014 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 league's championship game. 10 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 the league 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 winners 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.

Playoff system[edit]

From 2012 through 2014, the top five teams in each conference will qualify for the playoffs, in which the two brackets are entirely separate. The first round of each conference is a one-off match between the fourth- and fifth-place teams, with the fourth-place team hosting. The first round winner advances to play the conference's top seed in the Conference Semifinals. Starting next season the top six teams per conference will qualify, with the second one-off match between the third- and sixth-place teams (third-place team is host), with the lowest remaining seed playing the top seed, and the other team playing the second in the Conference Semifinals.

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. The away goals rule was adopted for the 2014 season.[1][2] In both rounds the lower-seeded team hosts Game One and the higher-seeded team Game Two. 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, a 30-minute overtime period (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 the overtime period.

Qualification[edit]

Ten teams qualify for the playoffs: the top five teams in each conference that have the most points in the standings upon the completion of the 34-game regular season. (Next season the league will expand to 12 teams, with the top 6 teams per conference going.)

The seeding is as follows:[3]

  • The top five teams in each conference are seeded first to fifth in their respective five-team playoff conference brackets. (Starting 2015, first through sixth in their six-team conference brackets.)
  • The top three teams receive a bye; the fourth and fifth place teams in each conference play in the first round. (Starting next season, top two teams get byes; in addition to the fourth seed playing host to the fifth, the third seed plays host to the sixth seed.)

Tie-breaking procedures[edit]

If two teams finish the regular season with an equal number of points, the following system is used to break the tie:[4]

  1. most wins
  2. goal differential
  3. goals for
  4. fewest disciplinary points
  5. road goals
  6. road goal differential
  7. home goals
  8. home goal differential
  9. coin toss/draw of lots

Note:

  • Unlike previous seasons, head-to-head competition results will not be used as a tie-breaker, starting with 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.

History[edit]

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– 20 TBD

MLS playoff records[edit]

Legend
Future Club
Defunct Club
0-0-0 Win–Loss–Draw


MLS Cup Playoff Club Records
Club MLS Cups MLS Cup
Appearances
MLS Seasons Win Loss Draw
Chicago Fire 1 3 17 20 15 5
Chivas USA 0 0 10 1 4 3
Colorado Rapids 1 2 19 14 17 3
Columbus Crew 1 1 19 14 19 4
D.C. United 4 5 19 27 10 5
FC Dallas 0 1 19 12 20 5
Houston Dynamo 2 4 9 15 8 5
LA Galaxy 5 9 19 40 22 6
Miami Fusion 0 0 4 3 7 0
Montreal Impact 0 0 3 0 1 0
New England Revolution 0 5 19 17 16 7
New York City FC 0 0 0 0 0 0
New York Red Bulls 0 1 19 12 19 8
Orlando City SC 0 0 0 0 0 0
Philadelphia Union 0 0 5 0 2 0
Portland Timbers 0 0 4 2 2 0
Real Salt Lake 1 2 10 9 8 4
San Jose Earthquakes 2 2 17 13 10 1
Seattle Sounders FC 0 0 6 5 8 4
Sporting Kansas City 2 3 19 18 19 6
Tampa Bay Mutiny 0 0 6 2 9 0
Toronto FC 0 0 8 0 0 0
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 0 4 0 2 0
MLS Playoff Appearance Records
Club MLS Seasons MLS Playoff
Appearances
Active Streak Longest Streak
Chicago Fire 17 12 0 6
Chivas USA 10 4 0 4
Colorado Rapids 19 12 0 5
Columbus Crew SC 19 12 1 4
D.C. United 19 10 1 4
FC Dallas 19 13 1 7
Houston Dynamo 9 7 0 4
LA Galaxy 19 15 5 10
Miami Fusion 4 3 0 2
Montreal Impact 3 1 0 1
New England Revolution 19 12 2 8
New York City FC 0 0 0 0
New York Red Bulls 19 14 5 5
Orlando City SC 0 0 0 0
Philadelphia Union 5 1 0 1
Portland Timbers 4 1 0 1
Real Salt Lake 10 7 7 7
San Jose Earthquakes 17 8 0 5
Seattle Sounders FC 6 6 6 6
Sporting Kansas City 19 13 4 5
Tampa Bay Mutiny 6 4 0 2
Toronto FC 8 0 0 0
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4 2 1 1


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Major League Soccer to introduce away-goals rule for first time in 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs". MLS. March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "MLS adopts away goals rule". ESPN. March 8, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ 2012 Competition Rules and Regulations, MLS, retrieved June 28, 2012 
  4. ^ "Competition Rules and Regulations". Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ "New tiebreakers designed to encourage attacking play". MLS Communications. MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 

External links[edit]