MLS Creeping Toward Championship Final

November 9, 2010 — by Sean

The MLS season ended a couple of weeks back, and then the top half of the league were pitted against one another in goal-aggregate, home-and-away series. What does that mean exactly? For one thing, it means all the games the Galaxy won during the season to earn first place are half worthless. They still would’ve made the playoffs with 12 less points—why not take a page from city associates the Lakers and play at half speed until the playoffs, when you can come out limber but rested?

Let’s save the full rant for another day, but let’s just say I’m not in love with the playoff system in the MLS. Moving on, the chart below represents the final standings of all teams in the MLS, regardless of division. (Give LA a trophy I say…sorry, another day, another day)

Remaining at this point are the Galaxy vs Dallas, and San Jose vs Colorado. Very left coast, must be the bountiful full-year playing surfaces. And do note their season-ending positions (but I will not continue my rant).

The mostly meaningless MLS 2010 regular season final standings

How do the playoffs work then, you ask? Well I can’t be bothered to explain it myself, so here’s a bit of description from the public domain after the bump:

The MLS Cup Playoffs is the postseason elimination tournament of Major League Soccer held at the end of the regular season en route to the MLS Cup, the league’s championship game. Eight teams total from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference qualify for the tournament based on regular-season records, and a tiebreaking procedure exists in the case of equal records. Awarding the league championship through a postseason tournament differs from most other soccer leagues around the world. In these cases, the team with the most points at the end of the season is deemed champion.

Conference Semifinal series are conducted in a home-and-away, aggregate-goal format. The lower-seeded team in the Conference Semifinal hosts the first game. The winners of those four series advance to single-game Conference Championships that will determine the MLS Cup finalists.

The team that scores the most goals in the home-and-away series advances to the single-elimination Conference Championship. If the teams are tied after 180 minutes in the Conference Semifinal series, a 30-minute extra time period (divided into two 15-minute periods) will be played followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The team with the higher seed between the two conference finalists will host the Conference Championship game.

In the case of ties after 90 minutes of regulation in the Eastern and Western Conference Championship games and MLS Cup, 30 minutes of extra time (divided into two 15-minute periods) would be played followed by penalty kicks, if necessary, to determine the winners.