MLS Has a New Playoff FOrmat

By Sean McCaffery, December 18, 2018

The top tier in US soccer has now gone with single elimination, this will benefit the better teams as they will have home field advantage in each series as it is now one game, in this one game set up the home team has a win rate of 67.3%  as opposed to the 55.1% in a home and home series. This one game only series will reward the team with the better regular season record.  The entire playoffs will be contested in Oct. & Nov., this 3 week 2nd season will be between the FIFA windows. The entire playoffs will occur between Oct. 19 with the MLS Cup on Nov. 10. Having further expansion on the horizon over the next 2 years and more, expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 puts the league on par with other North American sports leagues percentage wise. The top team in each conference only will now have a bye in the first round. The October FIFA window will see no games, affording teams rest and recovery time as they better promote their coming playoff games. During the playoffs, there will be at least 3 days between games, a week for the final. The weather will be markedly improved now for the playoffs as there is a 10-17 degree difference in the temperature from late Nov. to early Dec. and the new dates for these vital games. This new plan for playoffs has it all done by the kickoff of the Qatar FIFA World Cup on Nov. 21. The season will begin Mar. 2, 2019 with 24 teams including expansion team FC Cincinnati partaking in 34 games each. 

I am not so sure of how much this past playoffs were impacted by the internatiional call ups and the better teams losing away and then needing to do better still at home, ie:NYRB. Although not in Atlanta, but neighboring states had such bad snow while ATL had rain, that airports were closed days in advance, and the previous one played in Toronto was unbearable.