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MLS moves to points-per-game for playoff spots this year, cancels 6 games

MLS playoffs

SANDY, UT - SEPTEMBER 12: Lalas Abubakar #6 of the Colorado Rapids controls the ball against Corey Baird #10 of Real Salt Lake during their game at Rio Tinto Stadium on September 12, 2020 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

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Major League Soccer is canceling X previously-postponed regular-season matches and will decide its playoff spots via points-per-game, the North American league announced Thursday.

COVID-19 paused the season in March and led to a number of postponements during and after the MLS is Back tournament, with Colorado Rapids the most affected team.

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Five of the six canceled matches involve the Rapids, who leap into a playoff spot due to their points-per-game standing at 1.27.

  • Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC (originally scheduled Sept. 27 and Oct. 21)
  • Colorado Rapids vs. LAFC (originally scheduled for Oct. 7)
  • Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy (originally scheduled for Oct. 10)
  • Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids (originally scheduled for Oct. 14)
  • Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas (originally scheduled for Oct. 14)
  • Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake (originally scheduled for Oct. 18)

The decision does not affect the Eastern Conference due to the split schedule. Colorado has three matches between Nov. 1-8, and despite having just 15 points now could finish as high as fourth by winning all of their matches. They face first-place Seattle, third-place Portland, and 11th-place Houston.

On the flip side, Real Salt Lake will rue not getting the chance to take three points off a direct rival for a playoff spot.

The league also laid out its tiebreaking format.

  1. Total number of wins per match played;
  2. Goal Differential (GD) per match played;
  3. Goals For (GF) per match played;
  4. Fewest disciplinary points per match played;
  5. Away Goal Differential per away match played;
  6. Away Goals For per away match played;
  7. Home Goal Differential per home match played;
  8. Home Goals For per home match played;
  9. Coin toss (tie between two clubs) or drawing of lots (tie between three or more clubs)

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