Everything You Need To Know About The MLS Eastern Conference Playoffs

After 34 matches, the MLS Eastern Conference gave us exactly what we expected in some cases and major surprises for other clubs. The 2015 Eastern semi-finalists, the New York Red Bulls (first on 57 points) and the Columbus Crew (36 points and in 9th place), going in wildly different directions. 

The biggest turnaround of the year goes to New York City FC. Ever since Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira arrived, the club has been transformed. Even with a few early setbacks, the team has shown fight and even defense at times (unthinkable last year). Toronto and DC had consistent and successful years, while Kaka and company in Orlando will be disappointed to miss the playoffs again.

Here's everything you need to know about the Eastern Conference playoffs: 

The Bracket

With both New York teams securing victories on Decision Day, they are rewarded with a bye from the midweek action. The remaining four team’s from the East will battle it out Wednesday and Thursday in a pair of knockout matches. 

The Philadelphia Union have backed into these playoffs, having not won since late August. They will travel up to Toronto, who were a side battling for the Supporters Shield all season long, on Wednesday. Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore will make Toronto the favorites as the Canadian side look to avoid an embarrassing end to the season like in 2015. 

In the other knockout match, the hot and cold Montreal Impact travel south to face a rested DC United side. Fresh off the Drogba-refusal-to-play controversy, the Impact lost to the Revolution on Decision Day, and are not currently displaying the form of a playoff team. Meanwhile, the once bottom of the league United are now in the playoffs for the third straight year, and with key players rested this weekend are prepared for a quick turnaround. 


The winners of each match will then take on one of the New York teams, based on seeding.

TV Info

The MLS is fortunate to have contracts with their major cable outlets to utilize for the playoff schedule. Here is the TV information for the knockout matches and the quarterfinal two-leg ties. 

Wednesday (10/26) - 7:30 p.m. ET - Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC

Thursday (10/27) - 7:30 p.m. ET - Montreal Impact at DC United 

Sunday (10/30) - The first legs of the Eastern quarterfinals. Matches are at 3, 5, 7, and 9:30 p.m. ET, with specific matches to be announced after the knockout round. 

Sunday (11/6) - The second legs of the Eastern quarterfinals. Matches are at 3, 5, 7:30, and 10 p.m. ET, with specific matches to be announced after the knockout round. 


Unlike in the West, the Eastern conference has a clear split between the third and fourth teams and the fifth and sixth teams. Being at home and more rested, the results should fall to the higher seeds. 

DC United 2 - 1 Montreal Impact

Toronto 3 - 1 Philadelphia Union

If those results hold, DC gets the Red Bulls and Toronto heads to NYCFC. As unlikely as it would have seemed at the start of the year, a New York semi-final derby, two-leg tie should be awaiting us. For now, I’m predicting a 5-3 Red Bull victory over NYCFC over two matches. Check back in next week for an update on the Eastern Conference Playoffs. 

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