Published: Tue, December 18, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

MLS announces new single-elimination playoff format to start in 2019

MLS announces new single-elimination playoff format to start in 2019

MLS has announced an overhaul of its playoff system that will see more teams involved and a single-leg elimination format introduced from the 2019 season.

The team with the best record in their respective conferences will receive a first-round bye.

The changes were in response to criticism that the league did not do enough to reward top seeds. In past seasons, the breaks have taken place during the MLS playoffs, forcing a pause and interrupting the postseason momentum.

MLS had begun the two-legged format in 2003.

The league expands to 24 teams with the addition of Cincinnati next year, and 14 teams will make the playoffs.

White Sox acquire 1B Alonso in trade with Indians | AP sports
The Indians, who are trying to gain payroll flexibility, have traded Yan Gomes , Encarnacion, Diaz and Alonso since November 30. Alonso was selected by Cincinnati in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft and broke into the majors with the Reds in 2010.

The upcoming MLS season begins on March 2 and will consist of 34 matches.

Major League Soccer's playoffs are going to look quite different moving forward.

Each of the two conference winners will get first-round byes and be joined in the conference semi-finals by the winners of the three first-round series.

Recovery time between regular season and postseason: Following the regular season, playoff teams will have the October FIFA break to prepare for the playoffs, providing clubs with time to promote the postseason and sell tickets. Federation Internationale de Football Association global breaks can come at inconvenient times, notably in the middle of the MLS playoff schedule. An analysis of the league's cold-weather markets showed that there is a 10- to 17-degree (°F) difference in temperature with the new timeframe compared to playing matches in late November and early December.

The earlier end date will have MLS in line with the schedule for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which is slated to start on November 21.

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