), wherein I proposed an automatic pass to the conference finals for the top two teams. But this is a good start. Hopefully, it won't change again in 2012.
There are six automatic berths: The top three finishers in each conference, based on regular season point. There are four wild cards: The next highest point totals regardless of conference.
The wild card teams will meet for a single-elimination game against each other (higher seeds hosting; 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3). The two winners progress to the semifinals and the lower-seeded team from the play-in game will face the Supporter's Shield winner; the higher-seeded team will play the other conference winner.
The four semifinal games will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with each club hosting one game. The Conference Championships will be decided by a single game, with the higher seed hosting. The MLS Cup will remain a single game at a predetermined site to be announced later this year.
Here's a visual representation from MLSsoccer.com:
The wild-card idea is a winner. Giving the Supporter's Shield (and, thusly, the best teams in the regular season) a bye is a winner. The two-leg aggregate for the semi-finals is a good start (I'd like to see the Champions League format with the semifinals and championship round two-leg series and the MLS Cup a single game). Progress is progress.
Thoughts? Think they could've done anything better? Where do you think Sporting KC will finish this year?