MLS Standings


Major League Soccer Standings & Rankings

MLS follows a completely different format as the top European soccer leagues. There are 28 teams – soon to be 29 with the addition of St. Louis City SC – that are divided between the Eastern and Western Conference. Each team plays every team in their conference twice, home and away, and also plays eight interconference games. 

In the MLS standings, teams get three points for winning, one for tying, and none for losing. There’s no extra time or penalties in any regular-season match, so each result is final after 90 minutes plus stoppage time. 

At the end of the regular season, the top seven teams in each conference qualify for the single-elimination MLS Cup playoffs. The team with the most points at the end of the regular season wins the MLS Supporter’s Shield. The Supporter’s Shield winner and the first-place team in the other conference both receive first-round byes in the MLS Cup Playoffs

MLS Cup Standings

MLS Cup betting is popular during any point in the season, but the championship match (the MLS Cup) is played in November between the winners of the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs.

The playoffs, unlike the regular season, do feature two 15-minute extra time periods and penalties, if necessary, in case of a draw. 

Major League Soccer Relegation

Unlike European leagues, MLS does not use a promotion/relegation structure, which means that teams are constant from season to season, barring expansion. Late-season MLS scores and standings are particularly important for teams vying for the Supporter’s Shield and first-round playoff bye, along with those on the playoff bubble. 

The top team in each conference qualifies for next season’s CONCACAF Champions League, the most prestigious international club competition in North America. The other two berths are occupied by the MLS Cup winner (if not already qualified) and the next highest-ranked team in the table.

Major League Soccer Standings - FAQs

How are Major League Soccer standings determined?

Major League Soccer standings are determined by the accumulation of points earned from match results. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. Goal difference and other tiebreakers are used to separate teams with equal points.

What do team rankings reflect in Major League Soccer?

Team rankings in Major League Soccer reflect the order of teams based on their performance throughout the season. Higher-ranked teams generally have more points and better records than lower-ranked ones.

Do standings affect playoff qualification in Major League Soccer?

Yes, Major League Soccer standings play a crucial role in determining which teams qualify for the playoffs. Teams with higher standings often have better playoff chances, while lower-ranked teams might need to secure more points to make the postseason.

Are Major League Soccer standings affected by other factors?

Major League Soccer standings can be influenced by factors like injuries to key players, changes in coaching staff, and international competitions that lead to player absences. These factors can impact team performance and subsequently their standings.
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