One area where the Major League Soccer (MLS) differs from its European counterparts is their knockout playoff round format. It’s a thrilling way to sign off an MLS season. The MLS playoffs are contested by the top six teams in each conference with the teams seeded based on their finishing position in the regular season. The top two teams receive byes into the next round, leaving third through sixth to lock horns. This format provides an advantage to the third and fourth seeds as they get to host the first round playoff games.
The Seattle Sounders won their first MLS Cup in 2016, beating Toronto F.C. on penalties in the final. The Eastern Conference final was between two Canadian teams for the first time. Toronto progressed from a thrilling two-leg duel against their arch-rivals, Montreal Impact. The Sounders finished 4th in their conference, proving how important home field advantage in the first round it.
What Are The MLS playoff Soccer Standings
Each team is vying for the top six positions in each conference to ensure playoff qualification. Take a look at how each team is faring in the standings.
- 1st half
- 2nd half
|2||New York City FC||57||34||16||9||9||56||43||13|
|5||New York Red Bulls||50||34||14||8||12||53||47||6|
|7||Real Salt Lake||45||34||13||6||15||49||55||-6|
As we have already mentioned, some teams are playoff mainstays, including LA Galaxy, whereas others struggle to qualify for the postseason.
The 2016 MLS Cup Final saw two teams who had vastly different seasons battle it out for the top prize. Neither of them completely dominated their conferences, but Seattle Sounders came into the final as one of MLS’ hottest teams. It sure showed in the playoffs.