Los Angeles FC won the Supporters' Shield while Austin FC and FC Cincinnati reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time ever in 2022.
The 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs (called Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for sponsorship reasons) will be the 27th edition of the MLS Cup Playoffs, which is the post-season championship of Major League Soccer (MLS).
The tournament will begin on the 15th of October 2022 and will conclude with the 2022 MLS Cup on the 5th of November 2022 — 16 days before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.
What is the MLS Cup Playoffs?
The MLS Cup Playoffs is the annual post-season elimination tournament of the Major League Soccer (MLS).
The final match of the tournament is called the MLS Cup, which serves as the league’s championship game.
14 teams qualify for the tournament based on regular-season point totals — the 7 highest-placed teams from both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
In the MLS, winning the league championship differs from most other football leagues around the world — where the team with the most points at the end of the season is deemed as champion.
Though, MLS awards the regular-season champions with the Supporters’ Shield.
Furthermore, the winner of the Supporters’ Shield must be a U.S-based team in order to earn a direct berth in the CONCACAF Champions League — the continental tournament in North America.
MLS Playoffs Format
Since 2019 (excluding 2020 due to coronavirus), the top 7 teams from the Eastern Conference and top 7 teams from the Western Conference qualify for the playoffs — playing in separate brackets.
The higher seeded teams host matches, while the MLS Cup host will be determined by overall points.
All rounds are single-match eliminations.
Moreso, extra time (divided into two 15-minute periods) and a penalty shoot-out will be required if the teams were still tied at the end of regular time.
The teams ranked from 2nd to 7th in each conference compete in the First Round, with the winners advancing to the Conference Semifinals.
They will be joined in the Semifinals by the two 1st seeded teams from each conference, who have both been given byes to the next round.
Winners of that round play in the Conference Finals, which is then followed by the MLS Cup — grand finale.
2022 MLS Cup Playoffs
2022 MLS season in brief.
The 2022 Major League Soccer season was the 27th season of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. It saw the addition of 28th club Charlotte FC.
Los Angeles FC won the Supporters’ Shield with 12 days left in the regular season.
New York City FC enter the 2022 MLS Playoffs as the defending champions, while Los Angeles FC enter as Supporters’ Shield winners.
The 2022 playoffs marks the first where no teams from the Pacific Northwest region (including 2021 finalists, Portland Timbers) qualified.
Austin FC and FC Cincinnati reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time ever in 2022.
Which teams have qualified for the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs?
¶Inter Miami CF
¶New York City FC
¶New York Red Bulls
¶Orlando City SC
¶Los Angeles FC
¶Real Salt Lake
The 1st seeds in both the Eastern and Western Conferences (the Philadelphia Union and Los Angeles FC, respectively) will receive a bye from Round One and move directly into the Conference Semifinals.