How Many Games Are In A MLS Season?
The Major League Soccer (MLS) is the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. The MLS season runs from March through October and features 34 games for each team. Teams advance to the playoffs from the regular season, culminating in the MLS Cup championship game.
In this post, I’ll break down what goes into an MLS season so you can better understand how it works.
Regular Season Format
Each team in the MLS plays 34 regular-season games throughout the season. These are broken down into 17 home games and 17 away games. Teams play each other twice during the regular season, once home and once away, with one additional match against their regional rivals, such as their geographic neighbors or former league rivals.
This means that every team plays at least two matches against all other teams in their conference and at least one match against all other teams in their league.
The top seven teams from each conference—East, and West—then advance to the playoffs after the end of the regular season. The playoffs consist of three rounds: single-game elimination rounds, two-game aggregate goal series, and a single championship game.
The format for each round is determined by where each team finishes its conference standings at the end of the regular season. For example, if a team finishes first overall in its conference, it will get a bye for both rounds before facing off against another team for the championship game.
Points are awarded based on how teams perform during each game throughout the regular season and playoff matches. Teams receive three points for every win, one point for every draw (tie), and zero points for every loss. Points accumulated throughout both seasons determine which teams make it to playoffs and who gets seeded higher when they do so.
With 34 games per team during its regular season spanning over eight months, followed by three rounds of playoffs leading up to an exciting championship game, there’s plenty of action-packed into an MLS season.
Plus, with a point system that rewards wins with 3 points and draws with 1 point, you can easily track how all your favorite teams are doing throughout the seasons.