2015 is a year of change in MLS.
Two new expansion clubs New York City FC, and Orlando City SC, joined the ranks of MLS to compete in top flight soccer in America. As the league now sits at 20 teams, all eager for their shot of MLS Cup glory.
Well, 12 teams will have their chance this year. Two new playoff teams have been added in 2015, bringing a total of 6 entrants into the playoffs for each conference.
The exact format from MLS:
WHO QUALIFIES: Twelve teams, the top six from each conference at the end of the regular season, qualify for the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The third and sixth and fourth and fifth teams in each conference will play a single knockout game each, the winner of which will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the first and second place teams in the conference, respectively.
The four Conference Semifinals will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, the away goals rule will apply so as to be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice. If the series remains tied, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The away goals tiebreaker will not apply to overtime in the second leg of any two-legged playoff series.
The two Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, the away goals rule will apply so as to be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice. If the series remains tied, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The away goals tiebreaker will not apply to overtime in the second leg of any two-legged playoff series.
MLS Cup will be a single championship match hosted by the finalist with the most regular season points. If the two finalists have the same number of regular season points, the tiebreakers for playoff qualification will be applied to determine the host team.
MLS Cup will be hosted by the finalist that finished the regular season with the most points in the standings.
Cool. Another chance for RBNY to be mediocre during the regular season, and catch fire when it matters most.
In this new format only the 1 and 2 seed will have a direct route to the conference semifinals. The winner of the 3v6 and 4v5 knockout round game will then be reseeded for the conference semifinals.
As of right now 60 percent of all MLS teams will make the playoffs. I like our odds. Always gotta like your odds in life. If you don't, find a way to so you don't end up losing all your money in a backalley dice game in Atlantic City. Sevens are a cruel mistress.
Another big change is the tiebreakers for the regular season.
The team awarded the highest position in the MLS standings will be the team with the greatest number of points (three points for a win, one point for a tie, zero points for a loss). In the event that two teams finish the regular season with an equal number of points, the following system will be used to break the tie:
Total number of wins
Goal Differential (GD)
Goals For (GF)
Fewest Disciplinary Points
Road Goals Differential
Road Goal For
Home Goals Differential
Home Goal For
Coin Toss (2 clubs) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)
The only interesting thing to note here is the rise of disciplinary points. Hopefully the Red Bulls don't get a ton of yellow and red cards during the year. Maybe they should just stomp on other players' feet instead of tackling them?
Anyway I hope this year that NYCFC and the Red Bulls are tied for sixth place in every category and it comes down to a coin toss that we win. Just kidding the league would rig it and we would lose. I hope we just make the playoffs on our own. Playoffs are fun.