The 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs bracket is set following a dramatic ending to the regular season on Decision Day.
Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC and Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union head straight into the Conference semi-finals. However, the other 12 teams will battle it out in the first round, which begins on Saturday, October 15.
Here is the full 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs bracket:
Second seeds CF Montreal pushed right until the final day for top spot in the East but ultimately fell two points short. Nevertheless, they enjoyed a stellar regular season and will be firm favorites against an Orlando City side that scraped into seventh on Decision Day.
That said, as the newly-crowned US Open Cup champions, Orlando cannot be underestimated.
Reigning champions NYCFC secured third spot in the East, despite a monumental collapse following the mid-season departures of head coach Ronny Deila and 2021 Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos. The Cityzens will be much more confident heading into the Playoffs having secured three straight wins to end the regular season.
They’ll face an Inter Miami side back in the Playoffs after missing out in 2021. The Herons lost 3-1 to CF Montreal on Decision Day but only after a run of four consecutive victories sealed their spot in the post-season.
With Gonzalo Higuain recently announcing his plans to retire at the end of the campaign, Miami will want to send the Argentine striker out on a high.
For the 13th season in a row, the New York Red Bulls are an MLS Cup Playoffs team. They even managed a home tie, finishing fourth in the East with 53 points. However, only 23 of those points came at Red Bull Arena and Gerhard Struber will be looking for a big improvement on that record in a knockout setting.
RBNY will not find it easy against FC Cincinnati. Yes, this is their MLS Cup Playoffs debut, but in Brenner, Luciano Acosta, and Brandon Vazquez, they have one of the most potent attacks in the league. B*tween the three of them, they’ve scored an incredible 46 goals.
FC Cincinnati are the dark horses in the East.
Austin FC took just 31 points during their 2021 expansion year but increased that total to 56 this time around – enough to seal second spot in the West.
Powered by the goals of Sebastian Driussi, the Verde and Black lost just three home games all year and will prove a difficult test for anyone in the West.
Austin face Real Salt Lake, who return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second year running.
RSL left it late, only climbing into the top seven with a 3-1 Decision Day win over the Portland Timbers and will undoubtedly be seen as the outsiders in the West.
After a miserable 2021 season, FC Dallas invested heavily over the winter and have been rewarded with a third-place finish in the West. With Jesus Ferreira, Alan Velasco, and Paul Arriola in excellent form all year, there will be few teams in MLS who can live with their attacking firepower.
Minnesota United very nearly missed out on the Playoffs, but just about got over the line by beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on Decision Day, ending a run of just one point from six games.
That said, any team with Emanuel Reynoso pulling the strings cannot be underestimated.
The LA Galaxy are back in the MLS Cup Playoffs after two years away and it was rather fitting that goals from Chicharito, Dejan Joveljic, and Riqui Puig against the Houston Dynamo on Decision Day sealed a home game.
LA face an evenly-matched contest against Nashville SC in the first round, though Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar surely gives the visitors the edge.
This may be the tightest contest of the first round.
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