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MLS expands playoffs to nine teams from each conference

Los Angeles FC won the MLS Cup in 2022.John McCoy/Associated Press

Major League Soccer is expanding its playoffs to include the nine top finishers from each of its two conferences — 62 percent of the league’s teams.

An opening “wild card” round will feature matches between the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences at the stadium of the higher seed.

The next round will be a best-of-three series, with the top finisher in each conference facing the winner of the wild-card match. The second seed will play the seventh, No. 3 will play No. 6, and No. 4 will play No. 5. The higher seed will host first, with the series moving to the lower seed for the second game, and then back to the higher seed’s home if necessary.


The conference semifinals, finals, and MLS Cup championship will be single games, hosted by the higher seed.

In the previous format, only the top seven teams from each conference made the playoffs. The top seeds had a first-round bye to the conference semifinals.

Decision Day, the final day of the regular season, is set for Oct. 21, with the wild-card round scheduled for Oct. 25-26. The MLS Cup final will be played Dec. 9.

Last season, the Revolution finished in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. They had the same amount of points as ninth-place Charlotte but had fewer victories.