2008 MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule Announced

October 27, 2008 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

NEW YORK (Monday, Oct. 27, 2008) - The four Conference Semifinal series of the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs are set and listed below. The MLS Cup Playoffs kick off on Thursday, Oct. 30 when the Chicago Fire travel to Foxboro, Mass., to face the New England Revolution on MLS Primetime Thursday on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The MLS Cup Playoffs will be broadcast on national television partners ABC, ESPN2, Telefutura, HDNet, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español. Select games will also be broadcast on regional television partners, Direct Kick and MLSnet.com.

The other three Conference Semifinal matches this week are on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The Western Conference's top team, the Houston Dynamo, travel to New York to face the Red Bulls, who qualified as the second wildcard. As the fifth team in the Eastern Conference to qualify, New York shifted over to become the fourth seed in the West.

Chivas USA travel to face Real Salt Lake at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel. Real Salt Lake is making the first playoff appearance in club history.

In the other Eastern Conference Semifinal series the Columbus Crew travel to face the Kansas City Wizards at 8 p.m. ET on HDNet.

MLS Cup 2008 is Sunday, Nov. 23 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC and TeleFutura).

2008 MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule

All times Eastern; schedule subject to change

Conference Semifinals, Game 1:

- Chicago Fire at New England Revolution - Thurs. 10/30 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2/Deportes

- Houston Dynamo at New York Red Bulls - Sat. 11/1 at 4 p.m. ET on MSG/Ch. 43/Direct Kick/MLS Live TV

- Chivas USA at Real Salt Lake - Sat. 11/1 at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol

- Columbus Crew at Kansas City Wizards - Sat. 11/1 at 8 p.m. ET on HDNet/ONN/Metro Sports/TWC-5/Direct Kick/MLS Live TV

Conference Semifinals, Game 2:

- New England Revolution at Chicago Fire - Thurs. 11/6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2/Deportes

- Kansas City Wizards at Columbus Crew - Sat. 11/8 at 7:30 p.m. ET on HDNet/ ONN/Metro Sports/TWC-5/Direct Kick/MLS Live TV

- Real Salt Lake at Chivas USA - Sat. 11/8 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol

- New York Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo - Sun. 11/9 at 3 p.m. ET on TeleFutura/MSG Plus/Ch. 55

Conference Championships, TBD - 11/13 and either 11/15 or 11/16 (ESPN2/Deportes/HDNet/FSC/FSE)

MLS Cup 2008 - Sunday, Nov. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and TeleFutura

MLS CUP PLAYOFFS FORMAT

Who Qualifies: Eight teams qualify for the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs. Playoff berths will be determined by points in the standings upon the completion of the regular season. All 14 teams will have played 30 games.

- The top three teams in each conference qualify and are seeded 1, 2 & 3 in their respective four-team playoff conference brackets.

- The two MLS teams with the next most points, regardless of conference, receive "wildcard" berths.

- The two wildcard teams will be seeded according to conference first.

- If more than four teams qualify from one conference, the team finishing lower than fourth in its conference will shift over to the other conference bracket.

- A team switching conference brackets will be seeded below all other teams in its new conference playoff bracket.

Playoff Format: Conference Semifinal series are conducted in a home-and-home, aggregate-goal format. The lower seeded team in the Conference Semifinal hosts the first game. The winners of those four series advance to single-game Conference Championships that will determine the MLS Cup Finalists.

The team that scores the most goals in the home-and-home series advances to the single elimination Conference Championship. If the teams are tied after 180 minutes in the Conference Semifinal series, a 30-minute extra time period (divided into two 15-minute periods) will be played followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary. The team with the higher seed between the two Conference finalists will host the Conference Championship game.

In the case of ties after 90 minutes of regulation in the Eastern and Western Conference Championship games and MLS Cup, 30 minutes of extra time (divided into two 15-minute periods) would be played followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary, to determine the winners.

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