Major League Soccer saw a significant change added to its playoff format heading into the 2019 season.
The top seven regular-season finishers will make the postseason, which is up two teams from 2018. It will also see single-elimination for all matches, changing from the two-legged ties from the past.
This season will be the first with the new format and L.A. Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not a fan of it. Ibrahimovic hit out at the format in an interview with reporters on Thursday following training.
“I think the system is sh-t. You talk about mentality. Mentality is every day. The way you train is the way you play. Results in every game is important but here you come 7th, you make the playoffs, and you can win. How do you create mentality to be on your toes 24 hours? It’s very difficult,” Ibrahimovic said.
The 37-year-old is in his second season in MLS, with 16 goals scored in 18 appearances for the current fifth place Galaxy. Although the team has hit some bumps in their first season under new head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Ibrahimovic has remained one of the league’s more dangerous attackers.
Ibrahimovic is new to the playoff format as well as many others after spending every season but these two in Europe. The idea of giving teams only one lifeline in the postseason will definitely bring its positives and negatives to fans and players alike.
Not only will it help speed along the playoff process, but it will reward teams who did better in the regular season as the higher seeds will be the home team for playoff matches.
Ibrahimovic may not be a fan of it, but for now he will just have to accept it and move on and try to help the Galaxy be a part of the playoffs. Currently the New England Revolution and FC Dallas hold the seventh place spots in their respective conferences.