By FRANCO PANIZO
The unusual MLS playoff format that is scheduled to start Wednesday may never see the light of day.
MLS is considering doing away with its current playoff schedule to allow games to take place during the upcoming FIFA international window, according to a Tuesday report from SI.com. MLS had previously planned to not have playoff games during November’s international fixture dates, but that has made for an odd and highly-criticized postseason structure that would see teams endure a 12-day layoff after the first four playoff legs.
The potential new plan would have the conference semifinals and finals legs take place once a week, which would see the games played almost entirely on weekends, before continuing with the plan of a two-week break prior to the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7.
One major thing making it complicated for this new approach to work is that some clubs would have to ask international teams to not summon their players during the upcoming FIFA fixture. Otherwise, MLS sides could be without several of their key performers.
A final decision will be made by MLS commissioner Don Garber and could come as early as Tuesday evening, but clubs will have a significant influence on which format is ultimately chosen on the eve of the start of the postseason.
What do you think of MLS considering a change on the eve of the playoffs? Would you prefer the new approach? Wondering why this was not sorted out earlier?
Share your thoughts below.
Its pretty concerning that Sepp Blater appears more rational than the MLS gurus sometimes.
The problem for all of this is MLS needs to build better stadiums that protect the fans from weather.
Start the season earlier.
NASL doesn’t look so crazy after all.
Well this didn’t happen so we all wasted a lot of time complaining about it.
When will we get a real league? I can’t stand this Mickey Mouse garbage anymore.
It is ridiculous that MLS has their top trophy awarded in December. It is conceivable (although unlikely) that we could have a final played in snowy weather. I thought the WCQ snow game in Denver was fun to watch, but maybe it would makes more sense for the league’s showcase event to be scheduled during a warmer time of year. Even the last two MLS cups in LA were during cold and rainy weather.
Makes sense to make the change, although I can’t imagine that the TV producers and franchises like the uncertainty this late in the season. However, the current schedule with higher seeds playing midweek home games and teams playing every 3-4 days makes ZERO sense.
Alright, so play through the FIFA international window!
Mickey Mouse League
All a conspiracy theory to help the Sounders get more rest in between their games.
MLS spent a lot of money on Dempsey. They want to see him go deep into the playoffs.
Can the whole post season and go with a single table and league winner. Make the league championship worth something.
Yes it’s probably better. But yes, for the love of god yes, they should have sorteit out earlier. ownight embarassing. It’s not liek the previous schedule was announced at the beginning of the season, it came out 2 weeks ago! How’d this not occur to them in all that time they had?
Wow. Apparently my computer can’t keep up:
*should have sorted it out earlier. It’s downight embarassing.*
So all those teams that lost/won games during the season due to not having or having international players… well now we’re going to change that?
Dang, I was hoping they were finally going to a 3 game series all the way through….get it done MLS.
I would love it if they dropped the 5th place teams and played two rounds of three game aggregate goal ties. Team that’s higher in the table gets 2/3 at home. Get some epic series going, and play enough minutes to make it more likely that the better team goes through. Then you’ll have an MLS Cup Final with two very worthy teams.
The punishment for being a wild-card is supposed to be that you have to play 3 matches in 8 days: WED – SAT – WED or THU – SUN – THU. Not to go all conspiracy-theory on this, if anyone thinks that this isn’t the league capitulating to the Seattle Sounders to make sure if they advance they get a longer break before the 2nd-leg of the semis (3 in 11 or 12) is kidding themselves. The league wants the Sounders to be competitive and is bending over backward to give them a break.
If they change the schedule, look for Seattle to win on Wednesday night and look for a dodgy call – likely a questionable PK – to be part of the equation if needed. If the schedule gets changed it’s only because the league ‘knows’ Seattle will advance.
” If the schedule gets changed it’s only because the league ‘knows’ Seattle will advance.”
this doozy is downright epical
“Not to go all conspiracy theory on this” but I’m going to.
First of all, love your handle.
Second, appreciate the honesty but the first part of your name should be in bold and in all caps so people get your joke.
League execs have their heads up their ….. This is so stupid and not the way to run a business/league. Minor League Soccer at it’s finest.
Made possible by Ireland not making the UEFA playoffs?
i don’t even know what to say.
They had the break to avoid losing players to international games, but as it turns out, not a lot of players will even be called up for those games, most of which are meaningless. It is better to have a break to avoid those midweek games. Cheers to MLS for the willingness to make a change for the better.
Finally, a sane comment!
Integrity? What’s that?
This makes sense in theory, but even a little thought would tell them that unless all national team coaches with possible MLS call-ups agree, it will introduce some serious unfairness into the playoffs.
Man, That FIFA date came out if nowhere!!!
Shite league run by asshats.
I agree with byob about switching the playing calendar. If you are going to allow expansion teams in NFL stadiums then you can’t have your playoffs when they are using them. Not enough flexibility.
Keep the original schedule so the national team players can go and so you have a little bit more time to sell tickets.
Klinsmann already said that he was not going to call in anyone who was still in the play-offs no matter what. I think this decision is a logical one given what is known now vs. what was known a few months ago (Ireland, Autralia, US, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica could have been in the WC play-offs). FIrst, so many people were compaining about 3 games in 11 days followed by a 2-week break and now people are complaning that it has been fixed.
MLS needs 4 expansion teams in hot, warm, weather as soon as possible in order to go.fifa style calendar. It should be possible by 2018 if 4 teams are in 2018, like orlando, atl, miami and san antonio.
Also, mls does not need PLAYOFFS to win your conference but YES for mls cup.
MLS should have single table in each conference n winner of table in the conference gets a direct semifinal spot. Top 6 in each go to mls cup playoffs and just have knock out games, no 2 legged series, like nfl does it. That would be amazing and teams would play balls out during the season in order to host the single knock out game.
There is no such thing as FIFA-style calendar!!!! You can play on FIFA dates or avoid FIFA dates whether you have Fall-to-Spring or Spring-to-Fall. These 2 separate issues are always getting mixed up.
As always – total nonsense
Since college and pro football are incredibly big this time of year, why in the hell are these not Tues-Wed, matches? I have been a Duck season ticket holder and so help me God if they play that game on the 7th because I won’t be going to the Timbers match since the Duck game has been scheduled for like 10 months now. I just don’t get it, many things are said about Eurosnobbery and all of that, but they have the Tues – Wed evening CL matches right.
agreed, play regular season games in the fall, on weekdays and/or weekends to best avoid local conflicts and host the playoffs in May when there are no international breaks, nice weather everywhere, ligamx/uefa playoffs going on, it just makes more sense..
Weekday games draw markedly worse than weekend games. UCL is a different beast. Those games are going to draw even if they’re played at 4am on a Wednesday morning.
A lot of UCL matches draw relatively poorly. The weekday match days are part of the reason.
1) This change would move games TO the weekends. Clearly then that won’t affect your Thursday commitment.
2) T/W CL matches are because they have to fit in between regular season matches. Not sure how that’s relevant when the MLS teams only have one competition happening right now.
3) If you’d rather go to the Ducks match, we surely won’t miss you.
New England and Seattle have to check in with their NFL daddies about when they can play. That’s a big part of this. Even more so because of the play-in game/Seahawks combo.
The play-in game is Wednesday. The Seahawks game affects West Semis game 1 this weekend, which would not be affected by this change.
(Just defended the Sounders. Must go shower.)
Still a bunch of clowns making idiotic decisions in this league. Just pick a schedule and STICK WITH IT.
Wow, what a friggin’ joke. If this goes through – if MLS runs its playoffs during the FIFA break – then this year’s MLS Cup deserves a big asterisk next to it. Garber can’t expect internationals to skip FIFA dates. It puts everyone in an awkward position. Welcome to bizzaroworld.
MLS should drop the number of playoff teams to six total. It would preserve the playoffs American fans are accustomed to but make the regular season more important.
If you are going to have aplayoff, why not 8 teams you dingbat!
Great. More Seattle excuses.
I love MLS but this is truly amateur hour. The announced schedule was a joke and changing it last minute is a joke too. While the new schedule makes more sense it’ll potentially mean international players leaving. Everyone knew this international window was scheduled when the MLS made its schedule. What were they thinking? Plus the MLS cup final starts at the exact same time as the SEC championship game. I know there isn’t a ton of overlap in those fanbases but there is some.
I am in that overlap. This is a frigging embarrassment. Absolute amateur hour. The SEC Championship isn’t the Super Bowl, but it’s a sporting event that draws viewers far beyond just hardcore football fans. Idiotic.
What’s a SEC?
That’s fair but it will hurt ratings, at least somewhat.
securities exchange commission? the guys who regulate the stock market.. jk..
+1, currently with no MLS teams in the SE i don’t think thats a huge problem for them but the rest of your comment is on point.. Get it right the first time! also i still think that a season that ends in late April and goes to playoffs in May would be a lot better!
i went to an sec school
you’re allowed to like more than one sport.
The only two American sports I watch: MLS and SEC football. Thanks a lot! Just like last year.
The smart people where I grew up see that SEC football is just a somewhat amusing diversion while people wait for SEC basketball.
So which players/teams stand to be affected if this happens? It sounded like Klinsmann wanted to call in Dempsey, Donovan, Evans, Zusi, Besler, etc… Are any MLS players involved in any of the playoffs?
I doubt JK will call in anyone still in the playoffs but other international coaches may not be so cooperative – and they don’t have to be because MLS shouldn’t be playing during FIFA windows.
the USMNT is the team that stands to be affected first and foremost.
As a fan that places country over club every damn time, I find this very annoying.
My buddies didn’t die face-down in the muck so that US internationals could miss friendlies to play with their club teams!
What the heck are you talking about?
Yeah… as much as I would like to see all weekend games, I don’t want anything to affect the US’s WC prep. I love that Jurgen is taking things seriously and not wasting opportunities to get better. I don’t want this to affect that.
This is where MLS continues to look like a bunch of idiots. Changing schedules at the last minute, changing tiebreakers midseason, etc. I don’t know how the managers/owners deal with it.
Think the owners are the ones who are doing it.
I love how MLS admits that their regular season doesn’t matter by playing during international breaks with weakened teams by not doing the same during the playoffs. Then at the last minute they realize that taking 2 weeks off during the playoffs is a bad idea. Can you imagine a real league shaking up the most important part of their schedule like this?
By “shaking up” – you mean shifting Conference SF Leg 2 by 2-3 days and then by Conference F Leg 1 by 7 days keeping the last 2 dates intact. I would say that considering none of those matches were finalized, it’s not a big deal. It will also mean 4 weekend matches instead of weeknights and more time to sell tickets / get excited about the match-ups on TV.
I agree. This is exactly the type of flexibility the other major sports no longer have. I like a league that is able to respond (with limitations of course) to the climate of the sports market and adjust accordingly. It allows for: immediate gains, reduced risks for losses due to unforseen circumstances the league is not financially equipped to handle on an appropriate level, possibly leading to humiliation of the league.
Like ignoring a massive weather front and inconveniencing how many hundreds of United fans in Harrison, NJ last year? Yeah, lots of flexibility or, ya know, not really.
WOW! This is crazy! MLS should not change it now because it is too late.
this must be a ref-generated decision. it’s the only way it makes sense…