How Long are MLS Games?
The duration of Major League Soccer (MLS) games has evolved and changed over the years. As the rules of the game have changed, so too have the length of an MLS match.
Official Match Length
According to the official MLS rules, an MLS match is composed of two 45-minute halves, separated by a brief halftime. There is an additional 5-15 minutes of stoppage time added to each half to make up for time lost during the game due to injuries, substitutions, and other aspects of time-wasting. Teams may play extra time (30 minutes) if a game is tied after 90 minutes of regulation time; this extra time is divided into two 15-minute halves, with a brief break in between.
Factors Affecting Match Length
Match length may be affected by a variety of external factors, such as inclement weather and referee decisions. Officials may elect to shorten or lengthen a game to ensure a positive outcome. The amount of stoppage time added to a match can also affect the overall length of the game.
Average Match Time
On average, an MLS game takes approximately two hours and five minutes. While this includes the additional stoppage time, it does not include any extra time if the game is tied at the end of regulation. The duration of play for an average MLS game is about 106 minutes, but can range from 90-120 minutes depending on several factors.
MLS Past & Present
In recent years, the league has expanded the duration of games to further allow for tactical play and more time for players to commit fouls without facing a harsh punishment from referees. Historically, MLS games have been known for their controversial officiating, but in recent years, the quality and consistency of the officiating has improved greatly, which has helped to extend the length of MLS matches.
MLS games typically last two hours in total and 106 minutes in play. However, the exact duration of an MLS match can vary depending on a number of factors. As the rules of the game have changed over the years, so too has the length of an MLS match, allowing for more tactical play and a better overall experience for fans.