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Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoff matchups, dates and key info

The Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs kick off in just a few days’ time and with excitement starting to build, we’ve taken a closer look at the key fixtures and competitors involved.

The New England Revolution (Eastern Conference) and the Colorado Rapids (Western Conference) have both been handed byes through Round One following first-place finishes during the regular season, though the remaining playoff contenders have crucial games to navigate.

Below, we’ve taken a look at each of this week’s playoff matchups across both Conferences.

 

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Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Union (2nd) vs. New York Red Bulls (7th)

Saturday, Nov. 20 at 2:30 pm ET

Watch live: Univision, TUDN, MLSsoccer.com & MLS App

RBNY closed out the regular campaign in fine style, losing just one of their final 12 matches and their late dash across the playoff line should ensure that confidence levels at the club are high. Philadelphia Union meanwhile, also improved as the season progressed – especially at home – where they won their last five assignments, conceding just once along the way. Union will hope to harness home advantage again when Red Bulls visit this weekend.

New York City FC (4th) vs. Atlanta United (5th)

Sunday, Nov 21 at 3 pm ET

Watch live: ABC, ESPN Deportes

New York City’s clash with Atlanta United has already been billed as a contest between Valentin Castellanos and Josef Martinez, but even though two of the most feared attackers in the MLS will share a pitch, chances could be at a premium in the Big Apple. Atlanta have made noticeable defensive improvements under Gonzalo Pineda and their robust rearguard could provide a platform for success this week.

Nashville SC (3rd) vs. Orlando City SC (6th)

Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 8 pm ET

Watch live: FS1, FOX Deportes

Nashville and Orlando met three times during the regular MLS season and the well-matched outfits shared the spoils on each occasion. That run of results suggests their latest skirmish in the playoffs should be decided by fine margins again and home-field advantage could prove a massive determining factor. With key defenders Walker Zimmerman and Joe Willis likely to take centre stage, Nashville are favorites to progress here.

Western Conference

Sporting Kansas City (3rd) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6th)

Saturday, Nov. 20 at 5 pm ET

Watch live: UniMás, TUDN, MLSsoccer.com & MLS App

Sporting KC will start Saturday’s fixture against Vancouver Whitecaps as big favorites to progress at the Canadians’ expense, though their relatively limp end to the regular season might have planted a seed of doubt or two. Sporting lost their final three matches of the campaign, while Vancouver finished on a run of just one defeat 11, so the visitors have momentum on their side. The Whitecaps also beat Sporting 2-1 as recently as October 18, so the chances of an upset feel high in this one.

Portland Timbers (4th) vs. Minnesota United FC (5th)

Sunday, Nov. 21 at 5:30 pm ET

Watch live: ESPN, ESPN Deportes

Portland Timbers roared towards the finish line at home during the regular season, winning five of their final six matches in front of Providence Park’s raucous supporters. Only two clubs across both conferences scored more often than Timbers during the first phase of the campaign and that ferocious firepower could fire them to glory against a Minnesota side that conceded 12 times in their final six away contests.

Seattle Sounders (2nd) vs. Real Salt Lake (7th)

Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 10:30 pm ET

Watch live: FS1, FOX Deportes

Sounders had looked in total control of the Western Conference before a six-game winless run at the backend of the campaign cost them top spot and their bye through Round One. Real Salt Lake also stumbled over the line with three defeats in five, though their 1-0 win at Sporting KC on the final day showed how dangerous they can be on their day. Real have won just once in their last 13 visits to Seattle since 2012 however, and that record means it’s could be wise to side with the hosts.

Remember to check out our MLS Cup Picks and Predictions here!

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