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David Beckham Returns Tomorrow - MLS Announces Playoff Format

With the Los Angeles Galaxy returning to Los Angeles tomorrow, after a 10-day training session in Arizona, it was announced yesterday that the club also expects David Beckham to return from his training stint with Tottenham Hotspur. Beckham made a bit of a goodwill tour out of his time in England, appearing at the Manchester United – Man City derby match, as well as several Tottenham matches. He will be speaking to the media after practice tomorrow.

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Also, today MLS announced the post-season format for the 2011 season. The top three clubs in each conference will auto-qualify, with four more spots filled in by the top remaining clubs based on points. The four wild cards will play a single elimination game, with the higher ranked club hosting (1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3).

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After the play in game, the lowest remaining seed will face the Supporter’s Shield winner, while the other will face the no. 1 seed from the other conference. These conference semi-finals will be a two-game aggregate series. The Conference Championship will be a one game playoff hosted by the higher seed. The MLS Cup final will remain a neutral site game at a predetermined venue.

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The new rules reward the highest finisher with the lowest seed in the post-season tournament. Last season, with the Galaxy finishing with the most points in a more competitive Western Conference, they hosted the Seattle Sounders, which finished with more points than San Jose or eventual champion Colorado Rapids. The MLS Cup champion finished 13 points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy last year.