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League releases playoff format for ’11

February 23, 2011 | 2:33 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

Today Major League Soccer announced the format for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs. For a visual representation of the playoffs, go to www.MLSsoccer.com.

Ten clubs will qualify for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs:

  • The top three finishers in each conference, based on regular season points (six automatic berths)
  • The next best four clubs based on regular season points, irrespective of conference (four wild cards)
    • The four wild cards will play single elimination games against each other, with higher seeds hosting (1 vs. 4; 2 vs. 3). These play-in games are part of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
    • After the two play-in games conclude, the lowest remaining seed will face the Supporters’ Shield winner in the Conference Semifinals; the other will face the No. 1 seed in the opposite conference from the Supporters’ Shield winner.

The four Conference Semifinals will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with each club hosting one game. The two Conference Championships will be single games hosted by the higher seed. MLS Cup will again be a single championship match hosted at a predetermined site to be announced at a later date.

The 2011 MLS regular season concludes Oct. 23. The dates for the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup will be announced at a later date.

The 2011 MLS season starts Tuesday, March 15, when the L.A. Galaxy travel to face the Seattle Sounders at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com). All 18 clubs are in action during First Kick presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Defending league champion Colorado Rapids kickoff on March 19 as the club starts its 16th season.

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