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The MLS playoffs format explained: rules, tiebreakers, bracket...

Major League Soccer postseason kicks off with a pair of games on Saturday, as the first round defines the rivals of LAFC and Philadelphia Union.

Así se jugarán los Playoffs MLS 2022: Cruces, fechas, formato, llaves y partidos
Ira L. Black - CorbisGetty

With the start of the MLS 2022 Playoffs on Saturday, a new postseason will be launched in the top flight of North American soccer, where a new champion will be crowned or New York City FC retains the championship obtained during the 2021 campaign. LAFC, however, with Carlos Vela, and Philadelphia Union with Dániel Gazdag, look like the favorites.

As we learned on Decision Day, the franchises that will rest in the first round of the postseason by being the leaders of each of their conferences will be the Black & Gold and the Union, but this does not prevent them from knowing their possible rivals to start their path in the mission of obtaining their first MLS Cup title.

The games of the 2022 MLS Playoffs

Western Conference

LAFC will not play this weekend, but will be very attentive to the confrontation between LA Galaxy (4) and Nashville SC (5), since the winner of this matchup will have to visit in the next phase to the winners of the Supporters' Shield 2022 at the Banc of California Stadium in the Conference Semifinal. The option of El Tráfico between Carlos Vela and Chicharito Hernández is present.

The other key in the West, is the one with the matches between FC Dallas (3) vs. Minnesota United (6) and Austin FC (2) vs. Real Salt Lake (7), so within Of the games to be played this weekend, it could also define a face-to-face between Texas organizations or the surprises could lead to a completely surprising Conference Semifinal.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Union will not see activity in the first round of the Playoffs, but will closely follow the match between New York Red Bulls (4) and FC Cincinnati (5), since those of the Red Bull Arena or those of the TQL Stadium will be their rivals in the Conference Semifinal.

The remaining key in the East, will be the one with the matches between New York City FC (3) vs Inter Miami (6) and CF Montréal (2) vs. Orlando City (7), where the Florida squads look like the victims against the current MLS champion and the Canadians who were fighting for the top of the table Until the last games of the regular season.

What is the format of the 2022 MLS Playoffs?

Exciting direct confrontations and a single game are what mark the postseason in the North American league, so in case of a tie during regular time, it will proceed to go to overtime. If the tie is maintained, penalties will come to define the winner; so in each and every one of the rounds.

What are the dates for each phase of the 2022 MLS Playoffs?

  • First Round: Saturday 15, Sunday 16 and Monday 17 October.
  • Conference Semifinals: Matches between LAFC and Philadelphia Union will be played on Thursday, 20 October. The other semi-finals will be played on Sunday, 23 October.
  • Conference Finals: Sunday, 30 October.
  • MLS Cup 2022 Final: Saturday 5 November.