Notion of parity in MLS starts to erode

Seattle Sounders FC Photo

The notion of parity in MLS is starting to erode, at least in terms of those teams that make the playoffs and those whose seasons finish early.

Five teams that made the 2018 MLS playoffs have gone to the postseason in each of the last five seasons they were in the league, and four others have missed out only once. The six worst teams in terms of making the playoffs over the last five years have a combined four postseason appearances.

The 12 teams headed to the 2018 playoffs made it 72.5 percent of the time over the previous four seasons -- in contrast to just 42.5 percent for the 11 teams that did not advance.

Only one team that made the 2018 playoffs -- Philadelphia -- went to the postseason less than half the time over the previous four years. Three teams that failed to advance in 2018 had made the postseason three of the last four years, including Toronto FC (MLS champion in 2017), the LA Galaxy (champion in 2014) and Vancouver.

The Seattle Sounders, New York Red Bulls and Sporting KC lead all teams with eight or more straight trips to the postseason. On the other hand, Orlando City and Minnesota United have yet to make the playoffs. Of the last 10 MLS expansion teams, the only other team that did not make the playoffs in its first two years was Portland, which didn't play its first postseason game until its third season in 2013.

MLS Playoff Appearances (2014-18)
Eastern Conference:
5/5 NY Red Bulls (9 in a row)
2/2 Atlanta United
4/5 D.C. United
2/5 Philadelphia
4/5 Columbus
2/5 Montreal
2/5 New England
3/5 Toronto FC
1/5 Chicago
0/4 Orlando City

Western Conference:
5/5 Sporting KC (8 in a row)
5/5 Seattle (10 in a row)
1/1 LAFC
4/5 FC Dallas
3/5 Portland
3/5 Real Salt Lake
3/5 LA Galaxy
3/5 Vancouver
1/5 Houston
0/2 Minnesota United
1/5 Colorado
1/5 San Jose

6 comments about "Notion of parity in MLS starts to erode".
  1. R2 Dad, October 30, 2018 at 1:07 p.m.

    No worries, Garber will re-confuse everyone by upating PAM/TAM/GAM and parity will be re-instated. By presidential fiat. Because omniscience:

  2. don Lamb replied, October 30, 2018 at 1:20 p.m.

    It's really not that confusing, especially by the standards of other American sports administration.

  3. beautiful game, October 30, 2018 at 2:01 p.m.

    MLS parity, biggest detriment to soccer.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, October 30, 2018 at 8:29 p.m.

    Parity is not part of their view of the sport. It is the key to thier business plan during its expansion.

  5. frank schoon, October 30, 2018 at 3:57 p.m.

    Parity is something that is earned, not given. Everywhere in the world each league has a few teams that dictate and it's up to the other teams to reach that higher plateau.

  6. beautiful game, October 30, 2018 at 10:06 p.m.

    What parity has accomplished is a second tier production on the pitch. After 22 years of this "business" model, I see very little improvement in quality.

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