My favorite part of the Major League Soccer schedule release today? The loaded Western Conference slate. The league isn’t going to be balanced and it isn’t going to be completely equitable, but from a spectacle standpoint, this is going to be fun. Take another look at the Sounders’ schedule — very few gimmes from March through October, no more Chivas and only one match against Montreal. They’ll have to bring it every time out.
My least favorite? MLS confirmed that 12 teams will qualify for the postseason, six from each conference. And not only that, the playoffs might creep even further into December this season, all the way into the weekend of 12th.
The bottom part of the schedule release today included both a breakdown of the league’s new, late-season “Decision Day” slate on the second-to-last weekend of the regular season and a rough draft of the postseason dates.
I’ll leave the rest to the MLS’ own release:
MLS and its broadcast partners have also introduced flex scheduling for the second-to-last weekend of the regular season which will allow Univision, ESPN and FOX Sports to decide to telecast late in the season the matches that matter most in the standings.
In addition to the flex scheduling option in week 33 of the season, the last day of the 2015 regular season will see MLS unveil its new “Decision Day” scheduling format.
All five games in the Eastern Conference will be played concurrently on Sunday, October 25 at 5 p.m. ET, with one game airing on FOX Sports 1 and one game on UniMás. Immediately following, all five Western Conference matches will be played at 7 p.m. ET, with one game airing on ESPN2 and one game on UniMás.
In the postseason, the knockout round matches will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28 and Thursday, Oct. 29. The conference semifinals will take place over two consecutive weekends, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and Nov. 7-8.
Following a FIFA break from Nov. 9 – 17, the conference championship matches will begin on Nov. 21-22 and close out Nov. 28-29. The conference semifinals and conference championship matches will again be 2-game aggregate goal series. Of the two clubs that reach MLS Cup, the team with the better regular season record will host the championship game, on Dec. 5-6 or Dec. 12-13. Full playoff schedule details will be announced at a later date.