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MLS Cup Playoffs 2014: Dates, TV Schedule, Live Stream and Predictions

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IOctober 27, 2014

Seattle Sounders' Obafemi Martins holds up the MLS Supporters Shield trophy after an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The MLS Cup playoffs are officially set. 

With the Seattle Sounders' capture of the Supporters Shield on Saturday, and the Columbus Crew avoiding the knockout round with a 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, we now know the path for each of the 10 playoff contenders. 

We enter the playoffs on some interesting comments from Seattle—and future Tottenham—right-back DeAndre Yedlin:

DeAndre Yedlin @yedlinny

What really represents the BEST team? Whoever has the most points over 34 games? Or whoever wins a month long tourney at end of year?

DeAndre Yedlin @yedlinny

In no way am I trying to take away the importance of the MLS cup but I feel supporters shield is the best representation of the best team.

It's certainly a compelling debate, and supporters of Yedlin's argument will point to many of the top leagues around the world that determine their champion based on season-long results. 

No matter how you feel about the importance of the MLS Cup, though, one thing is certain: It's a month-long tournament featuring some of the best players in North America. There will be heaps of entertainment, excitement and stellar play. 

Let's take a look at what's in store. 

Schedule

2014 MLS Cup: Conference Knockout Round
WestDateTime (ET)TV
Vancouver at FC DallasWed, Oct. 299 p.m.TSN1
EastDateTime (ET)TV
Sporting Kansas City at New York Red BullsThur, Oct. 308 p.m.ESPN2
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2014 MLS Cup: Conference Semifinals
West (Leg 1)DateTime (ET)TV
Seattle at DAL/VANSun, Nov. 29 p.m.ESPN2
LA Galaxy at Real Salt LakeSat, Nov. 18 p.m.NBCSN
West (Leg 2)DateTime (ET)TV
DAL/VAN at SeattleMon, Nov. 1010:30 p.m.NBCSN
Real Salt Lake at LA GalaxySun, Nov. 97:30 p.m.ESPN2
East (Leg 1)DateTime (ET)TV
DC United at NY/SKCSun, Nov. 24 p.m.UDN
New England at ColumbusSat, Nov. 14 p.m.UDN
East (Leg 2)DateTime (ET)TV
NY/SKC at DC UnitedSat. Nov. 82:30 p.m.NBC
Columbus at New EnglandSun, Nov. 95 p.m.ESPN2
2014 MLS Cup: Conference Finals
West (Leg 1)DateTime (ET)TV
Higher Seed at Lower SeedSun, Nov. 235 p.m.ESPN
West (Leg 2)DateTime (ET)TV
Lower Seed at Higher SeedSun, Nov. 305 p.m. OR 9 p.m.ESPN
East (Leg 1)DateTime (ET)TV
Higher Seed at Lower SeedSun, Nov. 231:30 p.m.NBC
East (Leg 2)DateTime (ET)TV
Lower Seed at Higher SeedSat, Nov. 293 p.m.NBCSN
2014 MLS Cup Final
FinalDateTime (ET)TV
West vs. EastSun, Dec. 73 p.mESPN

Note: Schedule courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

Some may point to Yedlin's comments as a lack of motivation for Seattle, but recent history for Supporters Shield winners is perhaps the more concerning fact for the Sounders, as illustrated by ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Seattle wins 1st MLS Supporters' Shield (best reg. season record) with 2-0 win vs LA. Only 2 of last 11 Shield winners have won MLS Cup.

Unfortunately for this Seattle native, there's a good chance that trend continues. 

While it's difficult to pick against a team with the unbelievable attacking power of Clint Dempsey and MVP candidate Obafemi Martins, along with Yedlin's electrifying runs down the sideline, a looming matchup against the Galaxy could prove difficult. 

Yes, the Sounders beat Bruce Arena's squad in the finale to capture the Supporters Shield. But remember, the Galaxy were far from full strength without Omar Gonzalez or Robbie Keane. 

Reuters Sport's Simon Evans put it simply:

Simon Evans @sgevans

Galaxy look very ordinary without Keane.

With Keane at full strength, the Galaxy beat the Sounders, 3-0, in Seattle and drew them in Los Angeles after allowing a pair of late goals.

In fact, LA almost always gives Seattle trouble, losing just five times in 19 matches since the Sounders' move to MLS. As long as Keane, Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes are healthy, that will once again ring true in the Western Conference finals. 

On the other side of the playoffs, DC United's defense will be enough to get it through the East, but it won't stop the Galaxy from earning a third MLS Cup title in four years—a fine present for Donovan's MLS swan song. 

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