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MLS announces new playoff format for 2019 season

Major League announced a new playoff structure for the 2019 season that shortens the length of the season and rewards the best teams in the regular season with home playoff games in single-leg matchups. 

The 2019 MLS playoffs will start after the October international window on Oct. 19 and end before the FIFA break in November, with MLS Cup scheduled for November 10. 

The top seven teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences will earn spots in the postseason, with the top team in each conference earning a first-round bye.

In the first round of the postseason, the No. 2 seed will host the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed welcomes the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed hosts the No. 5 seed.

The No. 1 seed would then face the winner of the Round 1 clash between No. 4 and No. 5 and the winners of the other two first-round games will face each other in the conference semifinals. 

(Courtesy of Major League Soccer)

All of the games will be single elimination, a change from the two-legged conference semifinals and finals of the last few years. 

The new format also has a focus on the future since the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will start at the end of November.

Once the league expands to 28 teams or more, half of the franchises in the league will qualify for the postseason, but for 2019, only 10 of the 24 teams will miss out on the postseason. 

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