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MLS announces 2018 playoff schedule

The path to MLS Cup has been announced

MLS: MLS CUP-Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Major League Soccer regular season has just eight weeks remaining. Some teams have as many as nine games remaining while others have as few as six left to determine their final record.

On Wednesday, the league announced the schedule for the 2018 MLS Cup playoffs. For the second straight year, all postseason games will be broadcast nationally across the league’s partners ESPN, FS1, and UniMás in the United States and TSN and TVA Sports networks in Canada.

The qualification for the 2018 MLS Cup postseason will follow the same format as it has for the last three seasons. The top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs with seeds three through six playing in a one-game knockout round hosted by the higher seed. The conference semifinals and finals will be a two-legged series beginning at the lower seed’s home field and the final will be one game at the higher seed’s home field.

Following the final week of the regular season, also known as “Decision Day” when all of the league’s 22 team play at the same time, 4:30 p.m. ET, the knockout round matches will be played from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1.

The league also announced that the MLS Cup Final will be played on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on the FOX broadcast network, Spanish-language broadcast partner UniMás and in Canada on TSN (English) and TVA Sports (French). The match will also be broadcast on more than 170 countries worldwide.

Columbus Crew SC look like a near lock to make the MLS Cup playoffs. The Black & Gold currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, 10 points ahead of the New England Revolution, who are the conference’s seventh place team. To secure a home knockout game, Columbus must hold the Philadelphia Union at bay. The Union sit three points back of Crew SC at the moment.

Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule

*Subject to change. Canadian and international broadcast information to be announced at a later date.

Knockout Round

(Conference third seed vs. sixth seed, and fourth seed vs. fifth seed in a single-game elimination match)

Eastern and Western Conference Knockout Round (4 games)

  • Wed. Oct. 31 Two Games Times TBD (UniMás, English-Language broadcast to be announced**)
  • Thurs., Nov. 1 Two Games Times TBD (UniMás, English-Language broadcast to be announced **)

** UniMás will broadcast all four Knockout Round matches. ESPN2 and FS1 will each broadcast one of the four Knockout Round matches.

Conference Semifinal Series

(Two-game series, aggregate-goal, home-and-home format between conference top seed vs. lowest advancing seed from Knockout Round and conference second seed vs. highest seed from Knockout Round)

Eastern & Western Conference Semifinal Leg 1 (4 games, hosted by the lower-seeded teams)

  • Sun., Nov. 4 Four Games Times TBD (two games each on ESPN/ESPN Deportes and FS1/ FOX Deportes)

Eastern & Western Conference Semifinal Leg 2 (4 games, hosted by the higher-seeded teams)

  • Sun., Nov. 11 Four Games Times TBD (two games each on ESPN/ESPN Deportes and FS1/ FOX Deportes)
  • Conference Championship Series

(Two-game series, aggregate-goal, home-and-home format)

Conference Championship Leg 1 (2 games, hosted by the lower-seeded teams)

  • Sun., Nov. 25 Two Games Times TBD (one game each on ESPN/ESPN Deportes and FS1/ FOX Deportes)

Conference Championships Leg 2 (2 games, hosted by the higher-seeded teams)

  • Thurs., Nov. 29 Two Games Times TBD (one game each on ESPN/ESPN Deportes and FS1/ FOX Deportes)

2018 MLS Cup

(Hosted at the home venue of the finalist with the best regular season record)

  • Saturday, Dec. 8 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX, UniMás, TSN, TVA Sports)