Inter Miami boss Phil Neville has criticized the ‘poor’ MLS for failing to choose a playoff format – with teams unsure what the title race will look like with just five days left in the season
Inter Miami coach Phil Neville has criticized MLS for its lack of communication with clubs over the league’s playoff format.
Major League Soccer begins its regular season this Saturday, but no clarification has been given on how the league’s 29 teams will decide the champion.
Reports in December from The Athletic suggested that American soccer’s top flight may choose to completely overhaul its playoff system.
The current playoff structure follows a typical single-elimination pattern with the top seven teams in each conference relegating themselves until an MLS Cup champion is determined.
Instead, the league is considering a World Cup-esque postseason in which eight teams from each conference will be drawn into four separate four-team groups. The winners of both groups play in the semifinals and then the MLS Cup Final.
Phil Neville publicly criticized MLS for the lack of transparency in the playoffs this season
Reports say Major League Soccer will consider changing its playoff format
But Neville said the teams were not yet informed – that the season starts in five days
No decision has been publicly announced by the league about the format for the 2023 season – though MLS begins its season on February 25.
Neville spoke to The Athletic on Sunday – saying even the managers of the 29 clubs don’t know what’s going on, pointing to it as one of the reasons why the league is not one of the best in the world.
‘We’re six days, seven days from the first game of the season, we don’t know the playoff format. I think that’s difficult,’ said Neville.
‘When you’re talking about professionalism, and “elite”, I think when you’re seven days out at the start of the season – we’ve had conversations here, and one of our players asked one of the MLS guys to the other. day: “What’s the playoff system” and they’re like: “We don’t know.”
‘And I was like: “That’s not elite.” Are you talking about the differences between UK and US? We talked about the intensity of the fans. [This is another] big difference.’
DailyMail.com has contacted Major League Soccer’s communications department for comment on the 2023 playoff format.