According to a report from SI's Brian Straus, the MLS playoff format will be expanding next season to encompass a whopping six teams from each conference, up from this year's five. For the Portland Timbers this potential change comes one year to late, following the Timbers' 6th place finish in the Western Conference in 2014.
The new process would pit the 6th and 3rd place teams against each other in a single play-in match, like we saw between the 4th and 5th place teams this year. This would somewhat devalue the 3rd place berths in each conference, while making the 1st, 2nd, and 6th place seeds much more valuable.
Applied to MLS in 2014, the change would have seen the Portland Timbers face off against Real Salt Lake in the West, while in the Eastern Conference the Philadelphia Union would have qualified for the playoffs and taken on the Columbus Crew.
As it stands, the playoffs currently contain the 1st and 2nd place teams in the West as the Seattle Sounders prepare to host the LA Galaxy tomorrow in the second leg of their match up and the East has the 2nd seed New England Revolution, who eliminated the 4th seeded New York Red Bulls earlier today.
The move is also notable in that it would put 60% of the teams in the league in the playoffs, the greatest percentage of any league in the United States. MLS has had more than half of their teams in the playoffs since the Timbers joined the league in 2011.
What do you think of this potential playoff format? Would you rather have had it in place for 2014, if only to see the Timbers in action for at least another week or does it reward mediocrity?