Jesse Gonzalez - saves Giovinco penalty kick - FC Dallas

The Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs will mark the debut of a new format, and it goes without saying that will come with a few tweaks in protocol.


Gone are the two-leg series of years past, which will be replaced by a single-elimination knockout tournament. Win and you're through. Lose and you go home. That much is simple.


It also means a new way of settling tiebreakers. Under the old format, away goals were the first tiebreaker in all two-legged playoff series leading up to MLS Cup, with extra time and penalty kicks used to settle it in the event that away goals also ended on level terms in regulation.


The important thing to remember under the new single-elimination format is that away goals are no longer a factor. In the event that a game ends in a draw, here's what happens next:


  • If the match is tied through 90 minutes of regulation, the teams will play two 15-minute extra time periods.
  • If the match is still tied after extra time, it will head to penalties, where each team will have five attempts from the spot to decide a winner.
  • If the shootout is still tied after five kicks, it will continue into sudden death kicks until a winner is determined.