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MLS playoffs 2021 schedule, matchups, teams, TV, streaming and betting odds

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It’s put up or shut up time in Major League Soccer. The final 2021 MLS playoff bracket is set and the path to the 2021 MLS Cup title is clear.

Here are the basics: A total of 14 teams made the postseason (seven from East, seven from West). The team with the best record hosts every match of the playoffs, and the No. 1 seed in each conference gets a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout. It’s straight single-elimination knockouts from beginning to end.

The madness starts on Nov. 20, and the full schedule for the 13 playoff matches through MLS Cup on Dec. 11 is listed below:

Date Round Match Time (ET) TV Channels Streaming
Sat., Nov. 20 East 1st Rd. No. 2 Philadelphia 1, No. 7 NY Red Bulls 0 (a.e.t.)   Highlights  
Sat., Nov. 20 West 1st Rd. No. 3 Sporting KC 3, No. 6 Vancouver 1 5 p.m. UniMas, TUDN fuboTV
Sun, Nov. 21 East 1st Rd. No. 4 NYCFC vs. No. 5 Atlanta United 3 p.m. ABC, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Sun, Nov. 21 West 1st Rd. No. 4 Portland vs. No. 5 Minnesota 5:30 p.m. ESPN, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Tues, Nov. 23 East 1st Rd. No. 3 Nashville SC vs. No. 6 Orlando City 8 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV
Tues, Nov. 23 West 1st Rd. No. 2 Seattle vs. No. 7 Real Salt Lake 10:30 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV
Thurs, Nov. 25 West Conf Semi No. 1 Colorado vs. No. 4 Portland/No. 5 Minnesota 4:30 p.m. Fox, Fox Dep fuboTV
Sun, Nov. 28 Conf Semi TBD vs. TBD 3 p.m. ABC, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Sun, Nov. 28 Conf Semi TBD vs. TBD 5:30 p.m. ESPN, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Tues, Nov. 30 East Conf Semi No. 1 New England vs. No. 4 NYCFC/No. 5 Atlanta 7:30 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV
Sat., Dec. 4 Conf Final #1 TBD vs. TBD 6:30 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV
Sun., Dec. 5 Conf Final #2 TBD vs. TBD 3 p.m. ABC, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Sat., Dec. 11 MLS Cup TBD vs. TBD 3 p.m. ABC, UniMas, TUDN fuboTV

During the playoffs, if there are any ties after 90 minutes of regulation, matches will head to 30 minutes of extra time. A penalty-kick shootout will determine a winner if the deadlock persists at the end of extra time.

MORE: Washington Spirit’s title run like nothing you’ve ever seen

MLS playoff teams

The final standings in both the East and West were set after Decision Day. Here’s how the playoff races ended:

Eastern Conference

The top seven teams made it (noted with an ‘X’) with the New England Revolution having secured the No. 1 seed a few weeks back. D.C. United and defending champion Columbus Crew SC fell one point shy of the playoff field (noted with an ‘E’), as the NY Red Bulls nabbed the seventh and final spot with a draw on the final day.

In the case teams are tied on points, the first tiebreakers are (1) total wins, (2) goal differential and (3) goals scored. Here are the top 10 positions in the final standings of the 14-team Eastern Conference:

Team Points Wins Goal Diff. Goals For
1. New England (X) 73 22 +24 65
2. Philadelphia (X) 54 14 +13 48
3. Nashville SC (X) 54 12 +22 55
4. NYCFC (X) 51 14 +20 56
5. Atlanta United (X) 51 13 +8 45
6. Orlando City (X) 51 13 +2 50
7. NY Red Bulls (X) 48 13 +6 39
8. D.C. United (E) 47 14 +2 56
9. Columbus (E) 47 13 +1 46
10. CF Montreal (E) 46 12 +2 46

Western Conference

The top seven teams qualified (noted with an ‘X’). Real Salt Lake made it with a win on the final day (1-0 on a stoppage-time winner in KC), while both LA teams are out (noted with an ‘E’) after failing to win their final matches. LAFC lost against top seed Colorado 5-2, while the LA Galaxy could only tie 3-3 at home against No. 5-seed Minnesota.

Tiebreakers came into play with the final playoff spot in the West. The first standings tiebreakers in MLS are (1) total wins, (2) goal differential and (3) goals scored, and RSL pipped the LA Galaxy on total wins (14 vs. 13). Here’s how the top nine spots in the 13-team Western Conference finished:

Team Points Wins Goal Diff. Goals For
1. Colorado (X) 61 17 +16 51
2. Seattle (X) 60 17 +20 53
3. Sporting KC (X) 58 17 +18 58
4. Portland (X) 55 17 +4 56
5. Minnesota (X) 49 13 -2 42
6. Vancouver (X) 49 12 0 45
7. Real Salt Lake (X) 48 14 1 55
8. LA Galaxy (E) 48 13 -4 50
9. LAFC (E) 45 12 +2 53

MORE: How the U.S. national team can qualify to the 2022 World Cup

How MLS playoffs work

A total of 12 single-elimination matches will leave two finalists, one from each conference, to play for MLS Cup on Dec. 11. Here’s 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. Again, the higher seed hosts.
  • 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 regular season record.

The same extra time rules for the playoffs — 30 minutes of extra time after 90 minutes of regulation, and a penalty-kick shootout, if necessary — apply in the MLS Cup final.

MLS 2021 playoff bracket

Eastern Conference

First Round:

  • No. 2 Philadelphia 1, No. 7 NY Red Bulls 0 (a.e.t.) | HIGHLIGHTS
  • No. 3 Nashville SC vs. No. 6 Orlando City
  • No. 4 NYCFC vs. No. 5 Atlanta United

Conference Semifinals:

  • No. 1 New England Revolution vs. No. 4/5 NYCFC / Atlanta
  • No. 2 Philadelphia Union vs. 3/6 Nashville / Orlando (higher seed hosts)

Conference Final:

  • No. 1/4/5 vs. No. 2/3/6 (higher seed hosts)

Western Conference

First Round:

  • No. 2 Seattle Sounders vs. No. 7 Real Salt Lake
  • No. 3 Sporting KC 3, No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps 1 | HIGHLIGHTS
  • No. 4 Portland Timbers vs. No. 5 Minnesota United

Conference Semifinals:

  • No. 1 Colorado Rapids vs. No. 4/5 Portland / Minnesota
  • No. 3 Sporting KC vs. No. 2/7 Seattle / RSL (higher seed hosts)

Conference Final:

  • No. 1/4/5 vs. No. 2/3/7 (higher seed hosts)

MORE: USMNT roster for World Cup qualifying

MLS 2021 playoff schedule, TV & streaming

Eastern Conference

EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Sat, Nov. 20 Philadelphia Union 1, NY Red Bulls 0 (a.e.t.)   Highlights  
Sun, Nov. 21 NYCFC vs. Atlanta United 3 p.m. ABC, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Tues, Nov. 23 Nashville SC vs. Orlando City 8 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Sun, Nov. 28 Philadelphia / NY Red Bulls vs. Nashville / Orlando 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. TBD fuboTV
Tues, Nov. 30 New England Revolution vs. NYCFC / Atlanta 7:30 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Dec. 4/5 TBD vs. TBD TBD TBD fuboTV

Western Conference

WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Sat, Nov. 20 Sporting KC 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 1      
Sun, Nov. 21 Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United 5:30 p.m. ESPN, ESPN Dep fuboTV
Tues, Nov. 23 Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake 10:30 p.m. FS1, Fox Dep fuboTV

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Thurs, Nov. 25 Colorado vs. Portland / Minnesota 4:30 p.m. Fox, Fox Dep fuboTV
Sun, Nov. 28 Sporting KC vs. Seattle / RSL  3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. TBD fuboTV

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Dec. 4/5 TBD vs. TBD TBD TBD fuboTV

MLS Cup 2021

The 26th MLS Cup championship final will be played on Sat., Dec. 11 and will be hosted by the finalist with the best regular season record.

Date Match Time (ET) TV channels Stream
Sat., Dec. 11 TBD vs. TBD 3 p.m. ABC, UniMas, TUDN fuboTV

Who will win MLS Cup?

The New England Revolution, which amassed the best record in MLS during the 2021 regular season, is the favorite going into the postseason. The Colorado Rapids (No. 1 in West) and Seattle Sounders (No. 2 in West) have the next lowest odds.

There are some wild disparities in the odds between major sportsbooks, which will all likely revise their numbers as we get closer to the start of the playoffs.

MLS Cup 2021 outright winner odds

Team DraftKings BetMGM FoxBet
New England Revolution +225 +300 +333
Seattle Sounders +700 +525 +600
Sporting Kansas City +1000 +650 +900
Colorado Rapids +350 +625 +450
Nashville SC +1200 +1150 +1000
Philadelphia Union +1000 +1050 +700
NYCFC +900 +1250 +1200
Portland Timbers +2000 +950 +1600
Atlanta United +3500 +1900 +1600
Orlando City +2500 +1500 +3300
Minnesota United +3500 +2200 +2500
NY Red Bulls +4000 +2500 +4000
Vancouver Whitecaps +4000 +2800 +2500
Real Salt Lake +5000 +2200 +5000





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