Why bother with seventh MLS playoff berth if no one wants it?

The 2019 MLS playoffs will include several novelties.

For one, an early start date, by about two and a half weeks.

Also: a single-elimination format for the duration of the postseason.

And one more team from each conference -- seven out of 12 teams -- in the postseason.

Just whether anyone wants to claim these two news spots remains to be seen.

In recent weeks, the teams battling for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and final two playoff berths in the Western Conference have, on the whole, played terribly.

Of these seven teams, only one team -- Chicago, a 4-0 victor over FC Dallas a week ago -- has won in their last three game. That's one victory in 21 games.

Eastern Conference last 3:
7. New England loss, tie, tie (winless in 4)
8. Chicago tie, win, tie
9. Montreal loss, loss, loss
10. Orlando City tie, tie, loss (winless in 6)

Western Conference last 3:
6. FC Dallas loss, tie, tie
7. San Jose loss, loss, loss
8. Portland loss, loss, tie

The New England Revolution has one tie and two losses in its last three games -- the Revs are also winless in their last four games and have one win in their last eight games -- but they still hold a three-point lead with a game in hand for the only playoff berth still up for grabs in the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference, FC Dallas has had similar form -- one tie and two losses in its last three games -- but it has actually climbed two spots to sixth place because San Jose and Portland have been so bad.

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It's a very long shot, but Colorado, which got off to one of the most starts in MLS history with two points in its first 11 games, could actually overtake two of the teams ahead of it in the Western Conference standings and make the playoffs.

That's reason alone to eliminate the seventh playoff spot.

Eastern Conference Standings:
1. *NYCFC, 58 points (31)
2. *Atlanta United, 54 points (31)
3. *Philadelphia, 52 points (31)
4. (+1) *D.C. United, 48 points (32)
5. (+1) *NY Red Bulls, 47 points (32)
6. (-2) *Toronto FC, 46 points (32)
7. New England, 41 points (31)
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8. Chicago, 38 points (32)
9. Montreal, 37 points (32)
10. Orlando City, 36 points (32)
11. Columbus, 35 points (32)
12. FC Cincinnati, 22 points (32)
Note: In parentheses are games played.
*Clinched playoff berth.

Western Conference Standings:
1. *LAFC, 65 points (31)
2. Seattle, 50 points (32)
3. (+1) Minnesota United, 49 points (31)
4. (-1) LA Galaxy, 48 points (31)
5. Real Salt Lake, 47 points (31)
6. (+1) FC Dallas, 45 points (32)
7. (-1) San Jose, 44 points (31)
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8. Portland, 44 points (31)
9. Colorado, 39 points (32)
10. Houston, 37 points (31)
11. Sporting KC, 37 points (31)
12. Vancouver, 31 points (32)
Note: In parentheses are games played.
*Clinched playoff berth.

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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3 comments about "Why bother with seventh MLS playoff berth if no one wants it?".
  1. Chris Wasdyke, September 23, 2019 at 2:37 p.m.

    Why bother with promotion relegation when no one wants to win....

  2. Peter Bechtold, September 23, 2019 at 3:07 p.m.

    Paul, Where is your logic ?

  3. Alfred Randall, September 24, 2019 at 12:48 p.m.

    It's the MLS way of rewarding mediocrity.

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