The MLS decided to not hold playoff games during the international window, which could have posed conflicts for national team players like Sounders midfielder Brad Evans. (Ted S. Warren/AP)
UPDATE: After considering staging playoff games during the November FIFA international window, MLS has decided not do so. MLS playoffs will instead continue under their previously scheduled format with mid-week games allowing the first four playoff legs to occur before the start of the international window and a break in games during the Nov. 11-20 window.
Original: The MLS playoffs start Wednesday, and MLS is considering changing its playoff schedule to allow games to take place during the upcoming FIFA international window, SI.com has learned. If the change takes place, an announcement from the league could come either late Tuesday or on Wednesday morning.
MLS had previously not planned to stage playoff games during the international window on Nov. 11-20. That made for an unwieldy playoff date structure, in which the first four playoff legs would take place in a 12-day period, followed by a 12-day layoff, followed by the last conference final legs on Nov. 23-24 and a two-week layoff before the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7.
Under the new plan, the conference semifinal and final legs would take place once a week (almost entirely on weekends, with the occasional TV exception) with a two-week layoff before the Cup final. MLS is working with participating playoff clubs to see if 1) any of their players would be needed for important World Cup playoffs during the November date, and 2) their players would be able to beg off having to join their teams for less important friendlies during the November FIFA dates.
The final call will be made by MLS commissioner Don Garber, but the clubs will have a significant influence on his decision.