The league has two conferences, making it different from the typical European soccer league standard. As a result, the teams in the league do not all face each other as long as they are not in the same conference or the playoff final.
MLS is shaped like most American sports where there is a regular season and a playoff round.
The number of teams in the league is 28, with 14 in the Eastern and Western Conferences each. These teams play others in their region in a 34-match round, starting February.
The goal is to enter the playoff zone once the regular season is over and the team’s top seven teams enter the playoff round.
The best teams from both conferences faceoff in the MLS Final, and the winner in a single leg showdown wins the league, getting automatic qualification to the CONCACAF Champions League.
Understanding MLS Teams Stats
In Major League Soccer, the teams fight for a chance to play in the CONCACAF Champions League and to win the competition. It is a long season whereby there is a playoff round that can take time to complete, and leading the MLS standings doesn’t guarantee to win the league. Therefore, every win counts.
Four teams get to play in the CCL, and that still depends on who wins the league and the standings once the season is over.
In addition to the points, goal difference and head-to-head also come into play when teams with the same points are being ranked. In that case, the league is very impressive and competitive.
Eastern Conference Playoff
The top seven teams in the Eastern Conference will go into the playoff zone, and the leading team gets automatic qualification into the semifinals of the playoff.
Each game in this playoff is a single leg match that would, and the team that wins progresses to the next round.
If after 90 minutes the game ends in a draw, the tie would go into extra time, and if there is still no separation, there is a penalty shootout. The best team in the shootout eventually wins.
Western Conference Playoff
At the western conference, it is the same. The top seven teams will make it to the playoff rounds. The first-placed team gets an automatic qualification into the semifinals, and each game is a one-off match.
It is all about winning the conference for a chance to play in the MLS final, whereby teams from the two conferences will clash, and the best team in the final wins.
Aside from winning the league, qualifying for the CONCACAF competition is another top priority for the teams in the league.
However, it is only open to teams in the playoff zones from each conference. You should know that two teams from both conferences have the chance to qualify for the competition.
The first-placed teams in each region get automatic qualification to the competition. The winner of the MLS final will also get automatic qualification, while the second-placed team from the other conference that doesn’t have an MLS championship winner gets the last spot.
For instance, if Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution top both conferences, respectively, and New York City wins the league, these three teams make it to the CCL. For the last spot, the team behind Colorado Rapids nicks it.