MASL announces playoff format for first-place Tropics first ever appearance in post-season

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. --  As the 2021 Major Arena Soccer League regular season reaches the final two weeks of play, the league has announced the finalization of the playoff format.

As determined prior to the season beginning, due to teams playing an unbalanced number of games, playoff seeding will be determined by winning percentage first, followed by head-to-head record and goal differential, if needed. All playoff game times are to be determined.

The regular-season champion will receive a first-round bye. The number two seed will select their first-round opponent and the number three seed will select next with the remaining teams facing each other. 

The first round will consist of a home-and-home series, based on arena and date availability for teams. If the series is even after two games, a third mini game will be played following the second game of the series. The three first round winners will join the regular-season champion in Kansas City, where the semi-final round will be held. 

In the semi-finals, the number one seed will again select their opponent and play Game 1 on Thursday, April 1 with the two remaining teams playing the same day. Both series will play Game 2 on Saturday, April 3 with a mini game played if needed to break a series tie. 

The MASL Ron Newman Cup Finals will take place in two possible locations during the weekend following the semi-finals and will be best of two game with a third, mini game following Game 2 if necessary.

Should two west coast teams make the Finals, any combination of Ontario, San Diego and Tacoma, the Finals will take place at Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA. If any team other than two west coast teams reach the Finals, they will be held at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO.

Every round and game of the playoff format is subject to change due to COVID complications or where the commissioner finds any changes necessary in the best interest of the League.

The Tropics will be playing in their first-ever playoff series. After going 18-3 last season, the playoffs were cancelled, and Florida was declared the Eastern Conference champions. They did not qualify for post-season play in each of their first three seasons.

Should they finish second or worse, they would host a playoff game for the first-time in team history. The date and time of that game will be determined once the team's playoff seeding is determined when the MASL regular season closes on March 20.