MLS Playoffs 2023: Impact Without Messi, New Format, and Season Surprises
The 2023 Major League Soccer (MLS) postseason is set to kick off, albeit without the remarkable presence of Lionel Messi, who joined Inter Miami late in the season, captivating global attention and igniting a surge in the popularity of the team's distinctive light pink jerseys. Despite notable successes, including triumphs in the Leagues Cup and a commendable appearance in the U.S. Open Cup Final, Messi's impact wasn't sufficient to lift Inter Miami out of a substantial table deficit, resulting in a disappointing nine-point shortfall to secure a playoff spot.
Nonetheless, the MLS Cup Playoffs boast a diverse lineup of 18 teams out of the total 28 in the league, infusing the tournament with heightened excitement. The 2023 postseason is also introducing an intriguing new format that promises to elevate the competitive spirit of the games.
Looking back at the regular season, it was a rollercoaster ride, characterized by surprises and unexpected turnarounds. Notably, St. Louis City and FC Cincinnati defied the odds by clinching the top seeds in their respective conferences, despite their combined performances throughout the season falling short of the anticipated mark.
As the MLS Cup Playoffs draw near, enthusiasts and analysts alike are speculating about the potential favorites and the probable trajectory of the upcoming matches. With the conspicuous absence of Messi, the league is poised for an intriguing and unpredictable postseason, promising an exhilarating culmination to the 2023 MLS season.