Back during the end of the 2010 MLS season we heard that MLS would be expanding their format from 8 teams to 10 teams, adding two more teams to the playoffs. Now 10 of 18 teams make the playoffs. Plenty of people are disappointed in the announcement as MLS was just now down to the point of half the teams making the playoffs and now MLS is back up to 55% of the teams making the playoffs. Playoffs aren't going anywhere so if you're wanting to throw out the single table, best record wins the league thing, you can save the time, Don Garber has said on multiple occasions that playoffs aren't going anywhere.
The format now has the top 3 from each conference making the playoffs. This is one more guaranteed spot for each conference than last year when only 2 teams from each conference were guaranteed a playoff spot. After those six, the other four teams are decided by the four teams with the most points no matter what conference they come from.
If this format was in play last year, KC would have been in the MLS playoffs as the Eastern Conference third seed and would have taken on the Columbus Crew.
In the wild card round, the 7th seed will host the 10th seed and the 8th will host the 9th in a one game playoff. The winner of those two games will advance. The lowest seed remaining will take on the Supporters' Shield winner while the other team will play the highest seed from the other conference. The second and third seeds will face off against each other. The format of the conference semifinals and finals remains unchanged. The semifinal will still be two legs, with the lower seed hosting the the first game. The conference finals will be one game at the site of the higher seed. Currently the site of the final has not been determined.
I wasn't a huge fan of this idea originally, while I love seeing Kansas City in the playoffs every year, I thought 10 teams was a bit of overkill and wasn't really needed. It's better than when 8 of 10 teams were making the playoffs, but I thought as the league expanded the fact that there would remain to be 8 teams would be consistent. Still if they did add 2 more teams I do like the way they've done it. It's an attempt to give the Supporters' Shield a bit of an easier path to the finals, but I've never been a fan of giving the higher seed more time off. Many coaches seem to say they hate the bye week and would rather be playing instead. Still I like it, the format is set up kind of like the play-in games in the NCAA tournament.