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MLS playoff schedule and TV times

Oct 28, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Major League Soccer’s 18th playoff season begins Wednesday; the first of 10 qualifiers will be eliminated that night as the field begins to narrow.

The first playoff games are single-elimination matches featuring the 4th– and 5th-place finishers from each conference.

From there, the conference semifinals and finals are home-and-away, total goals series.  Here is the schedule, with TV information:

(MORE: Top story lines for the MLS playoffs)

(MORE: MLS Week in Review for Round 35)

(MORE: MLS Eastern Conference playoffs are set)

(MORE: MLS Western Conference playoffs are set)

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Dates for Major League Soccer’s conference finals are as follows:

  • First leg: Nov. 9-10 (Sat.-Sun.)
  • Second leg: 23-24 (Sat.-Sun.)
  • The 18th MLS Cup is set for Dec. 7 (Sat.) at the site of the higher seeded team.
  1. tylerbetts - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    This league DESPERATELY needs better TV partners/contracts.

    Am I reading that right? The Wild Card games are not on any kind of national coverage? Nor is New England – SKC leg one?

  2. journeyman22 - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Really pretty shocking if this many games aren’t being televised nationally. That said, my program guide listed MLS soccer on NBCSN this Thursday at 7PM. So maybe we don’t have complete info here?

  3. Steve Davis - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    For everyone outraged by lack of national TV for elimination games this week (Grrrrrr!), stand by. Word on the street — and I only walk on very safe streets — is that more news is coming …

  4. socamr - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    More outraged that the league crams two rounds of playoffs into 8 days, then has 14 days between Leg 1 and Leg 2 of the third round. We’re not finding out who the best team is, we’re watching (or not watching) a crap-shoot.

  5. geojock - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Playoffs have the most potential for viewership and ratings, yet they cram a majority of the games in a 7 day span? Not smart.

    I think the Thursday will be on NBC or NBC SN

  6. discojoe - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    The large gap between the first and second legs is because MLS wised up for once and is accommodating the November international break. If they had adopted this policy from the get-go, like almost every other domestic league, there wouldn’t be questions once they got on board. Now, they need to make sure they accommodate all international breaks, whether they adopt the FIFA calendar or not.

  7. cornfedsoccer - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    the league should have the cup final before the two week international break. people may ultimately lose interest after a bunch of games, then a break, then ‘oh by the way, we still got these to go…’

    • discojoe - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      That’s one of the unavoidable problems with not adopting the FIFA calendar. There really is no way to hold two legs and a final in two weeks with the season ending yesterday. The next round of friendlies in on the 15th, and players require travel time, a short camp for the team, etc. MLS brings this upon themselves, as they could either risk losing the highest profile U.S. players during the playoffs (there has been backlash to this for years) or have a two week gap. The two week gap is the lesser of two evils. They really just need to acknowledge that the schedule needs to recognize international commitments.

      • tylerbetts - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        I wouldn’t call it “unavoidable”.

        I have no problem with a break in the MLS Cup Tournament for the International Window. I just don’t like it in the middle of a two-legged series when you cram so many games into the other side of it. Some balance would be nice. No need to hurry up and get to Leg 1 of the Conference Finals just so we can wait two weeks for Leg 2.

  8. discojoe - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    There is something missing in this article’s schedule. As they have it stated, the first leg of the conference semis will be completed 11/2-3, and the second leg 11/9-10. The conference first conference final leg will then be held 4-5 days after the second game in the international break on 11/22-23. They have the finals listed for 12/7, but where is the second leg of the conference finals? I’d assume it would be 11/29-30? There is a 12 day gap from the last MLS game before the break until the first game after, which mirrors the Premier League break. I’ll reiterate that this is a problem MLS has created by failing to put international breaks into the schedule. Now that they decide to do it, it is terrible timing in the middle, people don’t know about it and are accustomed to an uninterrupted run through the playoffs. So, this situation was unavoidable due to MLS’ insistence on playing through international breaks for 18 years.

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