The schedule for the 2017 Major League Soccer Playoffs is set, with the top six teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences set to battle it out to determine who wins the MLS Cup on December 9.
The seedings for the playoffs were finalised on Sunday, the last day of the regular season, with the top two sides earning byes into the Conference Semifinals, while the Knockout Round will be contested by third vs. sixth and fourth vs. fifth.
Here are the seedings at the close of the season:
- Toronto FC
- New York City FC
- Chicago Fire
- Atlanta United
- Columbus Crew SC
- New York Red Bulls
- Portland Timbers
- Seattle Sounders
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- Houston Dynamo
- Sporting Kansas City
- San Jose Earthquakes
MLS' official Twitter account provided a look at each team's journey to their final position:
Toronto and New York City of the Eastern Conference will skip the Knockout Round, as will Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders of the Western Conference.
Here's the schedule for the Knockout Round:
The winners will progress to the Conference Semifinals and then the Conference Championships, before the Eastern and Western winners square off in the MLS Cup final.
Here is the remaining schedule for the competition, courtesy of ESPN:
Sunday, October 29
5 p.m. ET: Western Conference Series 1, First Leg
Monday, October 30
Time TBD: Eastern Conference Series 1, First Leg
Tuesday, October 31
Time TBD: Eastern Conference Series 2, First Leg
Time TBD: Western Conference Series 2, First Leg
Sunday, November 5:
Time TBD: Eastern Conference Series 1, Second Leg
Time TBD: Eastern Conference Series 2, Second Leg
Time TBD: Western Conference Series 1, Second Leg
Time TBD: Western Conference Series 2, Second Leg
Tuesday, November 21
8 p.m. ET: Eastern Conference Final, First Leg
Time TBD: Western Conference Final, First Leg
Tuesday, November 28/Wednesday, November 29
Time TBD: Western Conference, Second Leg
Thursday, November 30
Time TBD: Eastern Conference, Second Leg
Saturday, December 9
4 p.m. ET: MLS Cup Final
An Eastern Conference team has not won the MLS Cup final since Columbus Crew back in 2008, but this could be the year they overcome their Western counterparts.
Goal USA's Ives Galarcep noted the strength of the Eastern sides' performance this year:
MLS Supporters' Shield winners Toronto will take some stopping if they can carry their momentum into the semifinals, having racked up 69 points and 74 goals over the course of the regular season.
Chicago Fire might also have something to say about it, given they boast MLS' top scorer:
There's a long way to go, though, and league form does not always translate into a successful playoff campaign—Supporters' Shield winners have only triumphed on two occasions since 2002—but it promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the 2017 season.