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NASL announces playoff format change

"The Championship" will debut during the 2014 season, and could lead to even bigger changes down the road

Bruce Bennett

The North American Soccer League has revised it's post-season structure, and expanded the competition to include four NASL clubs. They've avoided calling this a "playoff" format, instead labeling it "The Championship". The new format will be used for the 2014 season. Here are some of the details, as described by the NASL:

The Championship Semi Finals (home team listed first)

Seed #1 vs. Seed #4

Seed #2 vs. Seed #3

The Championship Final (home team listed first)

Highest remaining seed vs. other Semi Final winner

The Championship seeding:

  • The NASL Spring Season and Fall Season champions will each host a semi final.
  • The number one seed will be awarded to whichever of the Spring or Fall champions posts the better combined regular season record.
  • The number three and number four seeds will be awarded to the next two clubs with the best overall records from both seasons combined.
  • Clubs will retain their seeding throughout the postseason.
  • The top-seeded semi final winner will host The Championship final. • If the same club wins both seasons, the clubs with the second, third and fourth best overall records from both seasons combined will qualify for The Championship.

The changes will place more importance on the season-long schedule, and could be a first step toward to end of the split-season format. It's also entirely possible that we'll see the league look to switch tho the world calendar, using the split-season format as a way to avoid playing in Edmonton in February.

Regardless, this will make repeating as champions a more difficult task for the Cosmos, as the club will now need to survive two elimination games in the postseason should they qualify.That should be a big help to clubs who might not have the resources that New York has, giving them a realistic chance to win a title if they manage to qualify for the semifinals.