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February 23, 2011 at 1:08 PM

MLS finally announces 10-team playoff format

Ten of the 18 MLS teams in the league make the playoffs this season. Here is the new format just announced:

* * *

— The top three finishers in each conference, based on regular season points (six automatic berths)

— The next best four clubs based on regular season points, irrespective of conference (four wild cards)

  • The four wild cards will play single elimination games against each other, with higher seeds hosting (1 vs. 4; 2 vs. 3). These play-in games are part of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • After the two play-in games conclude, the lowest remaining seed will face the Supporters’ Shield winner in the Conference Semifinals; the other will face the No. 1 seed in the opposite conference from the Supporters’ Shield winner.

— The four Conference Semifinals will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with each club hosting one game.

— The two Conference Championships will be single games hosted by the higher seed. MLS Cup will again be a single championship match hosted at a predetermined site to be announced at a later date.

— The 2011 MLS regular season concludes Oct. 23. The dates for the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup will be announced at a later date.

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