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MLS Announces Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule

September 9, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Inter Miami CF News Release


The Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs format is set, featuring 14 teams total across the Eastern and Western Conferences (top seven teams each).

Here's how the calendar will unfold across November and December. The games will follow a single-elimination and straight bracket format.

Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

Round One

Nov. 20 - 12:00 PM ET - Univision, TUDN, local English-language broadcast, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 20 - 3:00 PM ET - Univision, TUDN, local English-language broadcast, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 21 - 3:00 PM ET - ABC, ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 21 - 5:30 PM ET - ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 23 - Time TBD - FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 23 - Time TBD - FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Conference Semifinals

Nov. 25 - 4:30 PM ET - FOX, FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 28 - 3:00 PM ET - ABC, ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 28 - 5:30 PM ET - ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Nov. 30 - Time TBD - FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Conference Finals

Dec. 4 - Time TBD - FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Dec. 5 - 3:00 PM ET - ABC, ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

MLS Cup

Dec. 11 - 3:00 PM ET - ABC, UniMás, TUDN, TSN, TVA Sports

Playoff Structure

At the end of the 2021 MLS Regular Season, the top seven teams from both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference (14 Clubs total) will qualify for the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will again consist of single-elimination matches hosted by the higher-seeded team and follow a straight bracket format through MLS Cup on Dec. 11. Current standings

Round One:

Round One will consist of six single-elimination games that will feature six teams from each the Eastern Conference and Western Conference (12 teams total). 

The No. 2-7 seeds in each the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference will compete in Round One while the No. 1 seeds in each the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference earn a first-round bye. 

The intraconference matchups will feature the higher-seeded teams against the lower-seeded teams:

Round One Matchups: No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6, No. 4 vs. No. 5

If the match is tied after 90 minutes of regulation, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety. Should the score remain tied after the extra time periods, both teams will take five kicks from the penalty mark (and continue into sudden death kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary) until a winner has been determined. 

There is no longer an away goals tiebreaker.

The six winners, three from each conference, advance to the Conference Semifinals.

Conference Semifinals:

The Conference Semifinals will consist of four single-elimination games, two games in each conference.

The No. 1 seed in each conference will host the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 from Round One. 

The winner of No. 3 vs. 6 will play the winner of No. 2 vs. 7, with the higher-seeded team hosting.

If the match is tied through 90 minutes of regulation, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety. Should the score remain tied after the extra time periods, both teams will take five kicks from the penalty mark (and continue into sudden death kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary) until a winner has been determined.  

The winners advance to the Conference Finals.

If the match is tied after 90 minutes of regulation, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety. Should the score remain tied after the extra time periods, both teams will take five kicks from the penalty mark (and continuing into sudden death kicks from the penalty mark) until a winner has been determined. 

There is no longer an away goals tiebreaker.

The winners advance to the Conference Finals.

Conference Finals:

The Conference Finals will consist of two single-elimination games, one game in each conference.

The higher-seeded team in each conference will host the lower-seeded team. 

If the match is tied through 90 minutes of regulation, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety. Should the score remain tied after the extra time periods, both teams will take five kicks from the penalty mark (and continuing into sudden death kicks from the penalty mark) until a winner has been determined. 

There is no longer an away goals tiebreaker.

The winner from each conference, the Conference Champion, advances to MLS Cup.

More on tiebreakers and playoff competition guidelines


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