MLS playoffs: Schedule, dates & teams in the race for the MLS Cup | Soccer

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The regular season is winding down and the MLS playoffs are approaching.

North American soccer’s most exciting time of year promises to be as entertaining as ever this season, with the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa and Bastian Schweinsteiger set to lock horns for the MLS Cup.

It all begins with the one-off, winner-takes-all knockout round at the end of October before the top-four seeds join the competition in the conference semi-finals.

Goal has your complete guide to this year’s MLS postseason.

WHEN ARE THE MLS PLAYOFFS?

Bastian Schweinsteiger Chicago Fire

The MLS Cup playoffs will begin with knockout-round ties on Wednesday, October 25 and Thursday, October 26. They conclude with the MLS Cup final on Saturday, December 9.

The full playoff schedule is reproduced below.

KNOCKOUT ROUND:

Date Game Time (ET) TV
Oct 25 / 26 Eastern Conference Knockout Round TBC TBC
Oct 25 / 26 Eastern Conference Knockout Round TBC TBC
Oct 25 / 26 Western Conference Knockout Round TBC TBC
Oct 25 / 26 Western Conference Knockout Round TBC TBC

CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS:

Date Game Time (ET) TV
Oct 29 Western Conference semi-final (leg 1) TBC ESPN
Oct 30 Eastern Conference semi-final (leg 1) TBC FS1
Oct 31 Eastern Conference semi-final (leg 1) TBC ESPN
Oct 31 Western Conference semi-final (leg 1) TBC FS1
Nov 5 Eastern Conference semi-final (leg 2) TBC TBC
Nov 5 Eastern Conference semi-final (leg 2) TBC TBC
Nov 5 Western Conference semi-final (leg 2) TBC TBC
Nov 5 Western Conference semi-final (leg 2) TBC TBC

CONFERENCE FINALS:

Date Game Time (ET) TV
Nov 21 Eastern Conference final (leg 1) TBC ESPN
Nov 21 Western Conference final (leg 1) TBC FS1
Nov 28 / 29 Eastern Conference final (leg 2) TBC FS1
Nov 30 Western Conference final (leg 2) TBC ESPN

MLS CUP FINAL:

Date Game Time (ET) TV
Dec 9 MLS Cup final 16:00 ESPN

WHICH TEAMS ARE IN THE MLS PLAYOFFS?

David Villa New York City FC

Toronto FC has won the Supporters’ Shield and was the first team to confirm its place in the postseason.

The Eastern Conference field has since been decided in full, though the teams below Toronto are still jostling for the highest-possible finishing position and a bye through the knockout round.

As things stand, New York City FC will join TFC in going straight to the conference semi-finals by claiming second place and Atlanta United, the Chicago Fire, the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls will be in the knockout round.

In the Western Conference, only the Vancouver Whitecaps have secured their place in the playoffs with two games to play.

The standings in full are reproduced below.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Pos Team Pld W L T GF GA GD Pts
1 Toronto FC (SS) 32 19 5 8 71 35 +36 65
2 New York City FC (PO) 32 16 8 8 53 39 +14 56
3 Atlanta United (PO) 32 15 9 8 68 38 +30 53
4 Chicago Fire (PO) 32 15 10 7 59 43 +16 52
5 Columbus Crew (PO) 32 15 12 5 50 47 +3 50
6 New York Red Bulls (PO) 32 13 12 7 51 46 +5 46
7 Montreal Impact (E) 32 11 15 6 50 54 -4 39
8 New England Revolution (E) 32 11 15 6 48 58 -10 39
9 Philadelphia Union (E) 32 10 13 9 42 43 -1 39
10 Orlando City (E) 32 10 13 9 38 51 -13 39
11 D.C. United (E) 32 9 18 5 30 54 -24 32

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Pos Team Pld W L T GF GA GD Pts
1 Vancouver Whitecaps (PO) 32 15 11 6 48 46 +2 51
2 Sporting Kansas City 31 12 7 12 38 25 +13 48
3 Portland Timbers 32 13 11 8 54 49 +5 47
4 Seattle Sounders 32 12 9 11 45 39 +6 47
5 Houston Dynamo 31 11 10 10 52 44 +8 43
6 FC Dallas 32 10 9 13 43 43 0 43
7 Real Salt Lake 32 12 14 6 46 54 -8 42
8 San Jose Earthquakes 32 12 14 6 35 57 -22 42
9 Minnesota United (E) 32 10 16 6 45 64 -19 36
10 Colorado Rapids (E) 32 8 18 6 30 48 -18 30
11 LA Galaxy (E) 32 7 17 8 41 62 -21 29

(SS) = Supporters’ Shield winners
(PO*) = playoffs secured with knockout-round bye
(PO) = playoffs secured
(E) = eliminated from playoff contention
Bold = final conference position confirmed

HOW CAN I WATCH THE MLS PLAYOFFS?

Diego Valeri Portland Timbers

In the U.S., the playoffs will be split across Fox Sports, ESPN and UniMas and can be streamed via Fox Sports Go, WatchESPN and Univision.com. You can see a full rundown of what channel each game will be on in the fixture list above.

In Canada, the playoffs will be broadcast on TSN in English and TVA Sports in French. Those channels have exclusive rights and are likely to broadcast all games involving Canadian teams as well as selected others, including the MLS Cup final.

Both provide streaming of games via TSN Go and TVA Sports En Direct.

In the UK, Sky Sports hold the rights to MLS and are likely to broadcast most, if not all, games, including the MLS Cup final. Those games can be streamed via Sky Go.

WHERE WILL THE MLS CUP FINAL BE PLAYED?

Nicolas Lodeiro Seattle Sounders

As has been custom since 2011, the MLS Cup final will be hosted by the finalist with the higher regular-season finishing position.

Toronto will be hoping to bring the final to BMO Field for the second season in a row having won the Supporters’ Shield, which guarantees them home-field advantage should they make it that far once again.

WHO ARE THE MLS CUP FAVOURITES?

Toronto FC Supporters' Shield

Toronto have put together a dominant regular season and are 12/5 favourites to go one better than last year and win the MLS Cup, according to dabblebet.

New York City FC are rated as the team most likely to challenge them at 13/2, while Sporting Kansas City are the top choice out of the Western Conference at 9/1.

First-year expansion team Atlanta United also come in at 9/1, while two Cascadia rivals in the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps are priced at 10/1.

For the full MLS Cup outright market, click here to visit dabblebet.

WHAT HAPPENED IN LAST YEAR’S MLS PLAYOFFS?

Stefan Frei Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders are the reigning MLS Cup champions having beaten Toronto in last year’s final.

Seattle did not manage a shot on target through 120 minutes in Canada but were able to hold the Reds to a 0-0 draw and win the penalty shootout, with Roman Torres the hero.

Stefan Frei was named the MLS Cup final MVP after making a miraculous save to deny Jozy Altidore what would have almost certainly proven to be the winning goal in extra time.

Both clubs are set to return to the playoffs this year, with TFC top of the East – and, indeed, MLS as a whole – and Seattle in a comfortable spot in the West.



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