October 23, MLS released the 2011 MLS Cup playoff schedule upon conclusion of regular season play. In 2011, ten MLS teams, up from eight in 2010, will compete in the playoffs, kicking off with a Wild Card match on Wednesday, October 26 when FC Dallas host the New York Red Bulls.
The competition leading to the Cup will consist of 13 games with a break for FIFA fixture dates on November 11 and 15 between the Conference Championships and MLS Cup.
The top three teams in each conference entered as automatic qualifiers and the next four teams, regardless of conference, entered the Wild Card Games. The new structure won’t allow two Western Conference teams to compete for the Eastern Conference Championship, as happened last year.
For more insight, read Sizing up the 2011 MLS Cup Contenders.
The playoff table
Western Conference PTS GD
LA Galaxy 67 20
Seattle Sounders 63 19
Real Salt Lake 53 8
Sporting Kansas City 51 10
Houston Dynamo 49 4
Philadelphia Union 48 8
Wild Card Race
FC Dallas 52 3
Colorado Rapids 49 3
Columbus Crew 47 -1
New York Red Bulls 46 6
The four wild card teams play single elimination games against each other, with higher seeds hosting (1 vs. 4; 2 vs. 3). After the two play-in games conclude, the lowest remaining seed will face the Supporters’ Shield winner (LA Galaxy) in the Conference Semifinals; the other will face the No. 1 seed in the opposite conference (Sporting Kansas City) from the Supporters’ Shield winner.
2011 MLS Cup Playoff schedule (all times Eastern)
Wild Card Games – hosted by higher seed; single elimination
Wed, Oct. 26, 9 pm: FC Dallas-NYRB (FOX Soccer, TSN2)
Thurs, Oct. 27, 10 pm: Colorado-Columbus (Direct Kick, TSN2)
Eastern Conference Semifinals, First Leg – hosted by lower seed
Sat, Oct. 29, 7:30 pm: FC Dallas-Sporting KC (FOX Soccer, TSN) OR
Sun, Oct. 30, 7 p.m: Colorado/Columbus vs. Sporting KC (FOX Soccer, TSN2)
Sun, Oct. 30, TBD: Philadelphia Union-Houston Dynamo (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3)
Eastern Conference Semifinals, Second Leg – hosted by higher seed; winner by aggregate goals
Wed, Nov. 2, TBD: Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas/Columbus/Colorado(FOX Soccer)
Thurs, Nov 3, 8:30 pm: Houston Dynamo-Philadelphia Union (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3, TSN2)
Western Conference Semifinals, First Leg
Sat, Oct. 29, 10 pm: RSL-Seattle Sounders (FOX Soccer, TSN2)
Sun, Oct. 30, TBD: Colorado/Columbus/NYRB vs. LA Galaxy (ESPN or ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3, TSN2)
Western Conference Semifinals – Second Leg
Wed, Nov. 2, TBD: Seattle Sounders-RSL (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3, TSN2)
Thurs, Nov. 3, 11 pm: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado/Columbus/NYRB (ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3, TSN2)
Conference Championships – hosted by higher seed; single elimination
Sun, Nov. 6, 5:30 pm: (FOX Soccer)
Sun, Nov. 6, TBD: (ESPN or ESPN2, Deportes, ESPN3, TSN2)
MLS Cup 2011 – single-game final
at The Home Depot Center
Sun, November 20, 9 pm: (ESPN, Galavision, and TSN)
NOTE: No team will be scheduled to play on Thursday and Saturday of a given week.
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