2021 MLS Cup Playoffs: bracket, schedule, games, dates
The MLS Cup is underway after the regular season concluded with seven teams from the Eastern and seven from the Western conference booking their place in the playoffs.
The MLS playoffs started on November 20 and the full schedule for the 13 playoff matches is upon us.
A total of 14 teams made the postseason. The team with the best record hosts every match of the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in each conference has a first-round bye and home advantage throughout. It’s straight single-elimination knockouts from beginning to end.
A total of 12 single-elimination matches will leave two finalists from each conference. The finalists will then play for the MLS Cup on December 11.
How the playoff format works:
First round: Three matches in each conference pitting No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5. The No. 1 seed gets a bye. Higher seeds host.
Conference semis: It’s predetermined that the No. 1 seed will face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 match. The other two winners face off: No. 3/No. 6 vs. No. 2/No. 7.
Conference finals: The final two teams left standing in each conference meet at the home of the highest remaining seed.
MLS Cup: The two conference champions meet at MLS Cup, hosted by the team with the best record across the season.
The same extra time rules apply to the playoffs. There will be 30 minutes of extra time after 90 minutes of regulation, and a penalty-kick shootout, if necessary.
MLS 2021 playoff bracket
No. 2 Philadelphia 1, No. 7 NY Red Bulls 0 (a.e.t.)
No. 3 Nashville SC vs. No. 6 Orlando City
No. 4 NYCFC 2, No. 5 Atlanta United 0
No. 1 New England Revolution vs. No. 4/5 NYCFC / Atlanta
No. 2 Philadelphia Union vs. 3/6 Nashville / Orlando (higher seed hosts)
No. 1/4/5 vs. No. 2/3/6 (higher seed hosts)
No. 2 Seattle Sounders vs. No. 7 Real Salt Lake
No. 3 Sporting KC 3, No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps 1
No. 4 Portland Timbers 3, No. 5 Minnesota United 1
No. 1 Colorado Rapids vs. No. 4/5 Portland / Minnesota
No. 3 Sporting KC vs. No. 2/7 Seattle / RSL (higher seed hosts)
No. 1/4/5 vs. No. 2/3/7 (higher seed hosts)