Posted October 30, 2013

UPDATE: MLS decides against continuing playoffs during FIFA international window

MLS, MLS Cup, World Cup qualifying
The MLS decided to not hold playoff games during the international window, which could have posed conflicts for national team players like Sounders midfielder Brad Evans.

The MLS decided to not hold playoff games during the international window, which could have posed conflicts for national team players like Sounders midfielder Brad Evans. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

UPDATE: After considering staging playoff games during the November FIFA international window, MLS has decided not do so. MLS playoffs will instead continue under their previously scheduled format with mid-week games allowing the first four playoff legs to occur before the start of the international window and a break in games during the Nov. 11-20 window.

Original: The MLS playoffs start Wednesday, and MLS is considering changing its playoff schedule to allow games to take place during the upcoming FIFA international window, SI.com has learned. If the change takes place, an announcement from the league could come either late Tuesday or on Wednesday morning.

MLS had previously not planned to stage playoff games during the international window on Nov. 11-20. That made for an unwieldy playoff date structure, in which the first four playoff legs would take place in a 12-day period, followed by a 12-day layoff, followed by the last conference final legs on Nov. 23-24 and a two-week layoff before the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7.

Under the new plan, the conference semifinal and final legs would take place once a week (almost entirely on weekends, with the occasional TV exception) with a two-week layoff before the Cup final. MLS is working with participating playoff clubs to see if 1) any of their players would be needed for important World Cup playoffs during the November date, and 2) their players would be able to beg off having to join their teams for less important friendlies during the November FIFA dates.

The final call will be made by MLS commissioner Don Garber, but the clubs will have a significant influence on his decision.

13 comments
GOREVS
GOREVS

I could not be more excited about these playoffs, but this is awful and embarrassing. Yes the current schedule is a mess but changing it now is a PR and logistical disaster. It just makes MLS look amateurish. I'm holding on to a thin thread of hope that this is all a mistake and they're not seriously rethinking the playoff schedule AFTER tickets have already gone on sale.

highme
highme

So we're going from MLS = Calvin Ball on weed to MLS = Calvin Ball on a cocktail of bath salts & krokodil

Good work

CZeroMusic
CZeroMusic

It's a pretty awful schedule as is, so hopefully they change it.  There should not be a two-week break in the conference finals series whereas four matchdays are played in the first two weeks.

The international window affects only four teams, and literally only Obafemi Martins of the Sounders could potentially be called in for a World Cup qualifier.  This is a simple fix.

MarkFishkin
MarkFishkin

You'd think they'd have worked this out beforehand...

mysterious.j
mysterious.j

@Sean O1 This league aspires to emulate WWE more than anything else...they feel free to make up the rules as they go along, 

DeeEllEll
DeeEllEll

@Sean O1 This is because they refuse to follow the schedule of the European leagues.

Davos1
Davos1

Why would an American league follow a European schedule?

atwood.t
atwood.t

@DeeEllEll @Sean O1 The European schedule would be bad for MLS. Rain in the Northwest, bitter cold in the upper midwest and Canada and directly competing against the NFL and the NBA. Much easier to compete against MLB for fans.

MrTemecula
MrTemecula

@DeeEllEll @Sean O1 I don't think you can play soccer in Chicago in January. Bear fans and Euro football fans are much hardier than your casual American soccer fan.

DeeEllEll
DeeEllEll

@atwood.t - Agreed and the scheduling conflicts will always remain with the international windows.