MLS playoff matchups, schedule, game times, TV channels

San Jose Earthquakes striker Marco Urena sent his team to the MLS playoffs with a dramatic late winner. (Getty)

The San Jose Earthquakes were minutes away from elimination on MLS Decision Day. Minutes away from a deflating end to an up-and-down season. They appeared to have thrown away the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 2-2 draw at home against Minnesota.

But in stoppage time, Chris Wondolowski pounced on a rebound, squared it for Marco Urena, and the Quakes stole a win at the death:

That meant FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, despite wins, saw their seasons end. The other major result of the day was Portland’s win over Vancouver, which gave the Timbers the top seed in the West, and sent the Whitecaps tumbling from the top of the table to the knockout round.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, not much changed on Decision Day. Sebastian Giovinco earned a point for Toronto FC in Atlanta, giving TFC 69 points on the season, an MLS record.

[More FC Yahoo: How Toronto FC built the greatest MLS team ever]

Atlanta also set a record of its own on Sunday. The single-game attendance record fell yet again as 71,874 watched Atlanta and Toronto at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

So the playoffs are set. Below is the full MLS playoff schedule, including the knockout round TV times, which were announced Sunday night.

Eastern Conference

New York Red Bulls (6) at Chicago Fire (3)
Columbus Crew (5) at Atlanta United (4)

Western Conference

San Jose Earthquakes (6) at Vancouver Whitecaps (3)
Sporting Kansas City (5) at Houston Dynamo (4)

The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Oct. 25

  • Chicago Fire v New York Red Bulls — 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1, UniMás
  • Vancouver Whitecaps v San Jose Earthquakes — 10:30 p.m. ET, UniMás

Thursday, Oct. 26

  • Atlanta United v Columbus Crew — 7 p.m. ET,  ESPN2, UniMás
  • Houston Dynamo v Sporting Kansas City — 9:30 p.m. ET, UniMás


MLS does re-seed the bracket after the first round. So the conference semifinals will pit the top seed in each conference vs. the lowest (worst) advancing seed in that conference, and the No. 2 seed vs. the highest (best) advancing seed. Both matchups are two-leg, home-and-home ties.

The two teams in each conference that received byes to the semifinals are:

Eastern Conference

Toronto FC (1)
New York City FC (2)

Western Conference

Portland Timbers (1)
Seattle Sounders (2)

Here’s the schedule, via MLS:

  • Eastern Conference Semifinals: Leg 1
    • Monday, Oct. 30 – Time TBD – FS1
    • Tuesday, Oct. 31 – Time TBD – ESPN
  • Eastern Conference Semifinals: Leg 2
    • Sunday, Nov. 5 – Time TBD – ESPN or FS1
    • Sunday, Nov. 5 – Time TBD – ESPN or FS1
  • Western Conference Semifinals: Leg 1
    • Sunday, Oct. 29 – 5 p.m. ET – ESPN
    • Tuesday, Oct. 31 – Time TBD – FS1
  • Western Conference Semifinals: Leg 2
    • Thursday, Nov. 2 – Time TBD – ESPN or FS1
    • Sunday, Nov. 5 – Time TBD – ESPN or FS1


The Conference finals are also two legs. Here is the schedule, again via MLS:

  • Eastern Conference Championship
    • Leg 1: Tuesday, Nov. 21 – 8 p.m. ET – ESPN
    • Leg 2: Tuesday, Nov. 28 or Wednesday, Nov. 29 – Time TBD – FS1
  • Western Conference Championship
    • Leg 1: Tuesday, Nov. 21 – Time TBD – FS1
    • Leg 2: Thursday, Nov. 30 – Time TBD – ESPN


The higher seeded of the two teams hosts MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. ET (ESPN, UniMás).

– – – – – –

Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.