One of the main benefits of the new MLS playoff format is that it allows for them to occur in one concurrent block of time between two separate FIFA international windows. That doesn’t mean, however, that MLS will be entirely unaffected by them.
It’s not as bad as the last window when 10 players were forced to miss a game while on international duty, but the Seattle Sounders will still have eight players called away during the “bye” week between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. In addition to the previously announced call-ups for Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris for a pair of United States Concacaf Nations League matches, Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), Jordy Delem (Martinique), Joevin Jones (Trinidad & Tobago), Brad Smith (Australia), Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and Román Torres (Panama) will also leave on international duty.
The Sounders’ first playoff game will be either Oct. 19 or 20, which will give some players as few as three days’ rest between scheduled matches. That includes Smith who will be returning from Chinese Taipei more than 6,000 miles away and Svensson, who will be flying about 4,700 miles from Sweden to Seattle.
Schedule of matches
Arreaga: Ecuador vs. Argentina, in Elche, Spain (Oct. 13)
Delem: Martinique at Honduras (Oct. 13)
Jones: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Honduras (Oct. 10)
Morris, Roldan: USA vs. Cuba (Oct. 11); USA at Canada (Oct. 15)
Smith: Australia vs. Nepal (Oct. 10); Australia at Chinese Taipei (Oct. 15)
Svensson: Sweden at Malta (Oct. 12); Sweden vs. Spain (Oct. 15)
Torres: Panama at Mexico (Oct. 15)