How does MLS work? What is the championship formula?

Like all great American team sports, over there mls is not an exception and its formula is different from what we are used to with the European championships. The North American tournament, which includes teams from the United States and (some) teams from Canada, has in fact a typical American regulation, with the companies divided into two groups (East and West) and elimination competitions to determine the winning team of the competition. .

Oh, I forgot. As in other major American leagues linked to professional sports, in the MLS there is no promotion or relegation. At most, year after year new teams are added (franchises), increasing the number of clubs present in the league, without changing the number of games to be played during the year.

Let’s start immediately with a little curiosity. The MLS is played during the calendar year: in principle the championship begins in March and then ends in November of the same year.

MLS teams are divided into two groups (called conferences): the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. All this following the geographical position of the clubs. At that time the championship can begin, which takes place in two phases.

The first phase is that of the regular league, in which each team will play exactly 34 games (17 at home and 17 away), without the return rule. In fact, a team faces an opponent a variable number of times. In this first phase three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss, and this changes little compared to Europe.

The second phase, on the other hand, is that of the playoffs, a phase that also leads to the transfer of the title. In this phase, the seven best-ranked teams participate -in each group- at the end of the regular season.

The top two finishers from the two conferences advance to the playoff quarterfinals by right, while the teams that finish second through seventh (in both conferences) play a preliminary round.

At the end of the preliminary round, the MLS will therefore have eight teams that will fight in the playoffs for the final victory, with single elimination matches, until the final that is played in the field of the team that has placed the best during the regular season. .

CONCACAF Champions League Qualifying

Through MLS, three of the four US clubs qualify for and then participate in the CONCACAF Champions League (ie, the North American Champions League). One of these spots is awarded to the team that scores the most points in the regular season, another spot is awarded to the winner of the opposing Conference (compared to the team that scores the most points in the regular season), and then – of course, a place is rightfully assigned to the winner of the MLS.

The USA’s fourth place for the CONCACAF Champions League is awarded to the winner of the domestic cup (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup).

As for the European leagues (at least the most important ones), if a team obtains more transfers (for example, it wins the MLS and is also the one that has added the most points in the regular season), it moves the ranking of the regular season until Find the first team that has not yet qualified for the competition.

Attention, as mentioned above, some Canadian clubs also participate in MLS. Well, this is not about them. In fact, Canadian clubs qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League through the Canadian Championship. If a Canadian club occupies one of the seats assigned by participation in the Champions Cup, this is discarded and – as explained above – the ranking is shifted, finding the first team not yet classified.

Article written by Marco Deiana.

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