The 2021 Major League Soccer regular season is far behind us with the 2021 MLS Playoffs well underway. The Conference Finals are set and the tournament decider is drawing nearer. 

Portland Timbers are the Western Conference winners after defeating Real Salt Lake in the final. It was a convincing victory from the home side. With goals from Felipe Mora and Santiago Moreno, the Timbers are now waiting for their rival in the MLS Cup. 

On the other hand, New York City FC beat Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here, check out the road to the MLS Cup final, the playoffs format, dates, and how to watch each match in the United States.

MLS Playoffs 2021: Format 

The MLS Playoffs will be played by 14 teams, seven from East and seven from West. The team with the best record hosts every match. The No. 1 seed in each conference gets a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout. It’s straight single-elimination knockouts from there on out. 

  • 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: The No. 1 seed will face the winner of the No. 4-vs.-No. 5 match. The other two winners face off. The higher seed hosts.
  • Conference finals: The final two teams left standing in each conference face off in 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.

MLS Playoffs 2021: Teams 

As we said before, 14 teams, seven from East and seven from West, made the cut. From the Eastern Conference, the teams who qualified are: New England Revolution, Philadelphia, Nashville, New York City FC, Atlanta United, Orlando City and New York Red Bulls. 

Meanwhile, from the Western Conference, these are the teams who made it into the playoffs: Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers, Minnesota United, Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake

MLS 2021 Playoffs: Schedule and How to Watch in the US

First Round

Saturday, November 20

Philadelphia Union 1-0 NY Red Bulls 

Sporting Kansas 3-1 Vancouver 

Sunday, November 21 

NYCFC 2-0 Atlanta United 

Portland 3-1 Minnesota 

Tuesday, November 23 

Nashville SC 3-1 Orlando City

Seattle Sounders 0 (5)-0 (6) Real Salt Lake

Conference Semifinals

Thursday, November 25 

Colorado Rapids 0-1 Portland Timbers

Sunday, November 28 

Sporting Kansas City 1-2 Real Salt Lake

Philadelphia Union 1 (2)-1 (0) Nashville SC

Tuesday, November 30

New England Revolution 2 (3) - 2 (5) NYCFC

Conference Finals

Saturday, December 4 

Portland Timbers 2-0 Real Salt Lake 

Sunday, December 5

Philadelphia Union 1-2 New York City FC

MLS 2021 Cup Final

The 26th MLS Cup championship final between Portland Timbers and NYCFC will be played on Sat., Dec. 11 at Providence Park. It will be broadcasted by ABC, UniMas, TUDN, TSN, TVA in the US. 

MLS 2021 Playoffs Bracket