MLS Cup Playoff Format

WHO QUALIFIES: Ten teams, the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season, qualify for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
The fourth and fifth place teams in each conference will play a single knockout game, the winner of which will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the first place team in the conference.
 
The four Conference Semifinals will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, the away goals rule will apply so as to be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice. If the series remains tied, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The away goals tiebreaker will not apply to overtime in the 2nd leg of any two-legged playoff series.
 
The two Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, the away goals rule will apply so as to be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice. If the series remains tied, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The away goals tiebreaker will not apply to overtime in the 2nd leg of any two-legged playoff series.
 
MLS Cup will be a single championship match hosted by the finalist with the most regular season points. If the two finalists have the same number of regular season points, the tiebreakers for playoff qualification will be applied to determine the host team.
 
If the score is tied after 90 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary.
 
TEAM-STANDINGS TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES
The team awarded the highest position in the MLS standings will be the team with the greatest number of points (three points for a win, one point for a tie, zero points for a loss). In the event that two teams finish the regular season with an equal number of points, the following system will be used to break the tie:
 
1. Total number of wins
2. Goal Differential (GD)
3. Goals For (GF)
4. Fewest Disciplinary Points
5. Road Goals Differential
6. Road Goal For
7. Home Goals Differential
8. Home Goal For
9. Coin Toss (2 clubs) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)
 
When two or more teams are tied in the standings on points, the above tiebreakers will be used until one team ranks ahead of the other(s).
 
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS:
  • 10 clubs will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs – the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season.
    • The 4th- and 5th- place teams will play a single knockout game, the winner of which will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the 1st-place team in the conference.
    • The Conference Semifinals will be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format.
    • The Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format.
    • MLS Cup will be hosted by the finalist that finished the regular season with the most points in the standings.