Major League Soccer’s reworked regular season can be, at last, racing to a conclusion. Many of the league’s teams have only two games left to play of This particular year’s truncated, 23-game schedule. Several others must squeeze in three matches inside the next 11 days.
The Colorado Rapids, who missed a month because of a coronavirus outbreak of which affected more than a dozen players along with also staff members, are eight games short.
along with also of which can be changing the playoff calculus.
Traditionally, total points determine the standings in soccer. Every team plays the same number of games, along with also teams are ranked by the points they accumulate. although with the mismatch in games played in M.L.S. This particular year — Colorado has played only 15 games, while rivals like San Jose along with also Vancouver are already at 21 — the league will decide its playoff field by a different metric: points per game.
“inside the event of which all 26 teams do not end the season with the same number of matches played,” the league’s competition rules state, qualification for the 2020 M.L.S. Cup playoffs will be determined “by points earned on a per match basis, or points per game.” (inside the case of ties on of which metric, goal difference — also determined on a per-game basis — will be the tiebreaker.)
The difference can be not merely a hypothetical one. Since the idea can be clear of which Colorado will not be able to make up all of its games before the regular season ends on Nov. 8, its playoff hopes are alive solely because points per game will be used to set the playoff field.
The Rapids currently have 19 points, Great for only 11th place inside the West, which gets eight playoff berths This particular year. Under a points-per-game calculation, however, the Rapids stand eighth, at 1.27, Great enough (at the moment) for a playoff spot.
The Vancouver Whitecaps, who currently would certainly be inside the postseason field on points although just outside the idea on points per game, may develop the most to lose. Vancouver has faced the additional handicap of playing its “home” games down the stretch in Portland, Ore., because of strict Canadian quarantine rules.
“Don’t ask somebody via a Canadian team about if everything can be balanced along with also fair!” Vancouver’s chief executive, Axel Schuster, told ESPN This particular month. “I haven’t seen my family in a month. So let us not speak if everything can be balanced along with also everything can be equal at the end.
“Was everybody able to perform on the same level as everybody else? No, of course not. although I have never seen a pandemic before. I think of which the only thing we can do can be to go on along with also play along with also find the best solution. along with also to accept of which the planet can be crazy.”
There are a few various other teams of which will end the regular season without a full complement of results, although their deficits are much smaller than Colorado’s. The defending champion Seattle Sounders, for example, are scheduled to complete 22 of their 23 games. They stand second inside the West in points, although first in points per game, along with also their seeding — like every various other team’s — could mean the difference between a favorable matchup along with also a more difficult path to the league’s championship game on Dec. 12.
the idea has been a strange season for M.L.S., which played two games to start the season, spent four months on the sideline, then played a tournament at Disney World before resuming that has a shortened season.
To account for the impact of an abbreviated season, M.L.S. expanded its postseason to include 10 teams via the 14-team Eastern Conference along with also eight via the 12-team West. More than half of those spots have been claimed to date: the Red Bulls, brand-new York City F.C. along with also Los Angeles F.C. were among the half-dozen clubs of which punched their tickets This particular week.
The imbalance inside the schedule could repeat itself on a much grander scale if the N.F.L. has to postpone more games because of coronavirus positives. Many N.F.L. teams have little flexibility after using their bye weeks, along with also teams playing 14 or 15 games instead of 16 has become a possibility. The league has considered adding an 18th week to its schedule to account for makeup games, although for currently of which remains only an option.
This particular year’s Women’s Super League in England faced a similar problem inside the spring when its season was abruptly halted by the coronavirus. The league opted to decide its champion by points per game, meaning Chelsea won the title, despite having fewer total points than Manchester City, an outcome of which City accepted far more readily than its fans did.