Sounders Insider

MLS announces playoff dates

Here's the word from the league:

Major League Soccer has announced the dates for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs presented by AT&T. The MLS Cup final will take place on Sunday, December 7, while playoffs begin on October 29-30 with the first Conference Knockout round.

Following the second leg of the Conference Semifinals, teams will break for FIFA international match competition on Nov. 14 and 18, returning for Leg 1 of the Conference Championships on Nov. 22-23. This will signal the first time MLS playoff games will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29-30) which allows for more weekend games than in the past and a better overall rhythm for postseason play.

The competition format will remain unchanged as 10 clubs will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs -- the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season:

· The 4th- and 5th- place teams will play a single knockout game, and the winner will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the 1st-place team in the conference;

· The Conference Semifinals will be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format;

· The Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format;

· MLS Cup will be hosted by the finalist that finished the regular season with the most points in the standings

Many of the playoff games will air across the League’s partner networks – ESPN, NBC/NBCSN, Univision, TSN and RDS. MLS Cup will air at 3pm ET on Sun., Dec. 7 on ESPN, UniMas, TSN and RDS networks. The dates for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs are as follows: Conference Knockout Round

· Wed-Thurs, Oct. 29-30

Conference Semifinals

· Leg 1, Sat-Sun, Nov. 1-2

· Leg 2, Sat-Sun, Nov. 8-9

Conference Championships

· Leg 1, Sat-Sun, Nov. 22-23

· Leg 2, Sat-Sun., Nov. 29-30

MLS Cup Final

· 3pm ET, Sun., Dec. 7