By DAN KARELL
For teams in the 2013 Major League Soccer playoff race, finishing in third place or higher becomes paramount.
With two matches remaining in the regular season for all teams, MLS released their postseason schedule on Thursday, which happens to observe the FIFA international dates in November, the first time MLS has included a league-wide break all season.
As such, the opening rounds of the MLS Cup playoffs are very congested, and teams finishing in fourth or fifth place could find themselves playing five games in a 15 to 18 day span, which could take it’s toll and really test those squad’s depth.
The playoffs begin on October 30-31 with the knockout games, followed by the Conference Semifinals on November 2-3 (first leg) and November 6-7 (second leg). The Conference Finals are split up by the international break, with the first leg occurring on November 9-10 and the second leg on November 23-24.
Following a break for Thanksgiving, the MLS Cup final will be played on December 7 at the home of the team with the best record of the two participants in the final.
Here’s a closer look at the MLS Playoff schedule:
- Knockout Games: October 30-31 (Wed.-Thurs.)
- Conference Semifinals, Leg 1: November 2-3 (Sat.-Sun.)
- Conference Semifinals, Leg 2: November 6-7 (Wed.-Thurs.)
- Conference Finals, Leg 1: November 9-10 (Sat.-Sun.)
- Conference Finals, Leg 2: November 23-24 (Sat.-Sun.)
- MLS Cup: December 7 (Sat.)
What do you think of this news? Do you like the way the schedule is designed? Do you feel like teams who finish fourth or fifth will struggle due to the congested schedule? Which teams have the best chance of advancing to the MLS Cup final?
Share your thoughts below.