NASL changes postseason format

MarcosSennaNYCosmos3-FCEdmonton (NYCosmos)


NASL will be adding more teams to its postseason format this year.

NASL announced on Thursday that four teams will reach the postseason in 2014, twice as many as in 2013. The four clubs will consist of the Spring and Fall Season champions and the two teams with the next best combined records from the two seasons.

The postseason will commence with a semifinals round, and the two teams to advance from there will compete to play in the title game called “The Championship,” which will determine who lifts the Soccer Bowl trophy.

“The long-term plan is to keep it at four clubs,” said NASL commissioner Bill Peterson, whose league plans to expand to 18 teams in the not too distant future. “You have a Spring champion, a Fall champion. The conversation starts with, ‘What about the best overall record?’ That makes some sense, but you can’t just let one in so we let those two in and the vision and the plan is to never expand that beyond that format.

“We really do believe with the Spring and Fall season, you don’t need to admit half of your league into the playoffs. That just takes away from the importance of the regular season and allows too much mediocrity in your championship game or the risk of mediocrity in your championship games.”

Both the semifinals and final will be one match and not two legs. The semifinals will be played the weekend of Nov. 8, and the championship match will be the following weekend.

“When we look at where we’re going and what we want to be, one of the components of that final plan is the postseason tournament,” said Peterson. “We maintain the importance of the spring and fall. Spring champion and Fall champion are automatically included and will host a home match in the semifinals and then we allow two challenges to enter into that competition.

“This was something that we see long term as a great way to sort of decide the champion and who wins the Soccer Bowl and who represents us as NASL league champion.”

Last season, the New York Cosmos defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks, 1-0, in the Soccer Bowl. Marcos Senna scored the winner in that match.

  • Shawn

    Why are nasl still trying they will always be the Canadian football league to the NFL in the eyes of the public. There only hope is to someday become 2nd division of mls.


    • jspech

      Why do MLS fans troll every NASL post?

      I like this change, especially one game in ea. round. Basically, a 3game playoff, that keeps competition flowing.

      -But still leaves a protentially unmotived Spring Champion. Which I believe can be benefitial to the importance of winning the Supporter Cup or whatever it’s called.


      • Cosmosfan

        Agreed, i think this solves a lot of the competitive complaints the format in 2013 had. I am no playoff fan, but i get that there are business interests and ownership interests in a fledgling league to consider.

        The seeding gives home field advantage in a one off game to the champion of the Spring/Fall season against a lower qualifying non champion

        The winners play a final at the home of the team with the best combined record from spring and fall…which prevents a team from winning spring then taking off all of fall and tanking. (see ATL).

        Also it gives the Cosmos 3 league trophies to win in 2014.. 🙂


      • Paul

        Yes, the only motivation for the Spring Champion would be to get the #1 seed so they could play the #4 seed and be guaranteed to host the final if they make it that far. I guess it’s not perfect, but it is better than what they have now.


      • Luis Esco

        That’s funny, I don’t have a problem w/ the NASL but their fans or at least some are always around to complain about MLS and how they ruin American soccer and then throw in pro/rel for good measure.


    • Bobert


      do you not understand the sport of soccer?

      There is no NFL comparison here to make. Stop trying to put soccer into the same box as other American sports.


    • Anton

      You left out the part about how they will keep changing the name of the title game each year. In the future, we can look forward to:

      2015 – NASL Smackdown Grudge Match

      2016 – The Title Game

      2017 – The Soccer Bowl Returns (Briefly)


  • Ivan

    That’s a good move by the league. It gets more teams involved until the end of the Fall season.

    Hopefully they don’t expand further that number with more teams joining the league.

    They have the horrible, unwatchable MLS playoffs to look for as what not to do…


  • NASL to el paso tx

    The question is, which league will end up with the better markets. Basically MLS is going everywhere and NASL can’t stop expanding as well.

    Who will get san diego, san francisco, LA3, chicago2, austin, vegas, milwaukee, detroit, baltimore, alabama, albuquerque, phoenix.

    Can we just gey MLS2 🙂


    • Rory Miller

      I don’t care what league they are in, the more well-supported teams of any division the better! I hope to see a 4th or 5th division team drawing 1,000 fans in Armpit, Arkansas one day or a 7th team in New York (in different divisions of course).


      • Costa

        Hey now, we support soccer in Arkansas… our homecoming game drew over 100 people lol



  • slowleftarm

    NASL is a clown league but I do prefer fewer teams in the postseason. MLS could learn from this but it won’t.


  • ar

    i don’t understand. IS NASL? 2nd division soccer in the USA or is that USL?

    and why is Marco Sienna playing for Cosmos? He could still be playing in La Liga, did he just wanna move to NY or are they offering him a few million a year?


    • slowleftarm

      They aren’t paying him millions a year but it’s debatable whether he could still be playing in La Liga. Maybe he just wanted to live in NYC. Sure, the commute from the city out to games and practices is pretty far, but he probably just hires a car for that.

      He also stated in his first press conference that he couldn’t wait to play the Red Bulls, so apparently he wasn’t aware of the fact that his new club plays in a minor league.


    • NC Jeff

      US Soccer Leagues are classified by the US Soccer Federation. NASL is classified by them as a 2nd Division League. I believe USL is classified as a 3rd Division League. One of the quirks about the structure of NASL is in salaries. In NASL, each team can pay each player whatever they want, while MLS teams have an overall team cap. and an individual player cap. Thus, a player can be offered a better package by an NASL team than a MLS team.

      One limiting factor against players in NASL is that because the season doesn’t run as long, they are up against a competitive disadvantage vs. players in MLS who have longer with their clubs, and thus more training, more matches, and less down time.


  • yoyo gotti

    but does NASL plan to rival MLS or are they acceptable of their status as 2nd division soccer in this country?


    • Cosmosfan

      i think they just want to be the best soccer league they can be and see where that takes them


      • whoop-whoop


        Reality check. They largely have ownership with no capitol or infrastructure. That said, they do have a place in the US soccer landscape. Trying to compete on equal footing w/ MLS at this point is probably unrealistic.


    • SilverRey

      Think of it as the American League and the National League in MLB or AFC and NFC in NFL. They started out as two leagues in the same sport with different philosophies on how to run a league.

      MLS is put together in a very unique way and has very few similarities to any league in the world for any sport. Not everyone agrees with the way they run things. NASL basically grew out of the need to do things in a different manner than MLS.

      I have never been to an NASL game and don’t really live around one, but I definitely support the cause. I would love to see them succeed and provide a different product than MLS. I have my MLS teams which I will always follow, but I think it would be great if an NASL team wins the US Open Cup in the near future.


  • BrioS

    I like the new playoff format especially rewarding extended good form with playoff spots. I might have had a slight tweist in that if the best two teams over the enrire year are also in the playoffs then there will only be two teams. What if the same team wins both the spring and the fall.

    I am am an MLS fan because I have an MLS team near me. I hope for success of all US leagues I do want there to be a distinction on D1, D2, D3, etc. because this country does have a history of rival leagues killing professional club soccer. Now that USLpro and MLS have a partnership arrangement there should be no threat of rivalry there. NASL could be a rival league but right now it is clearly D2. The league needs to perform better in the USOC because USLpro is punching above their weight right now.


  • Yusef

    I have no idea whether or not the NASL can be successful, but I definitely prefer soccer where the regular season actually means something. Whichever league comes to the Bay Area first (San Jose doesn’t count), will be the league I support.


  • shawn

    better yet the nasl should focus on youth development. That way they can be a farm league for the mls to take youth from


  • jspech

    What I would like to see next for NASL:

    Building stadium ala, INDY Eleven.

    Improve & heavily invest in internet brodcast, in addition to local tv broadcast where possible.

    product on the field.

    My dream would be speedy, constant motion, w/most teams going heavily w/ a 4,3,3 aligment.

    But I’m not a coach but I can dream.


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