MLS Cup 2021 Playoffs: Which team will lift the biggest prize in American and Canadian soccer?

The marathon Major League Soccer season is finally over and it is now time for the MLS Cup 2021 playoffs to begin. Fourteen teams will compete for the MLS Cup 2021 after the MLS regular season whittled the teams down from 27 teams. 

What is the format for the MLS Cup 2021 Playoffs?

Seven teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences will compete for the MLS Cup trophy. The first round will see the No. 1 see in each conference get a bye in the first round while six teams will compete in each conference in the first round. Three teams will then progress to the second round.

The No. 1 seeds in the MLS Cup playoffs have home-field advantage until the MLS Cup Final. This season’s MLS postseason will feature a straight, single-elimination format. In previous seasons, the league has used a home-and-away two-legged format like in Europe’s Champions League.

The higher seed will host the playoff matches and if it is tied at the end of 90 minutes, then the match will move to a 30-minute overtime period with two 15-minute halves. If the teams are still level, the teams will move to penalties.

MLS Cup 2021 Playoff bracket

The MLS Cup 2021 Playoffs see the New England Revolution as the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. In the Western Conference, the Colorado Rapids took the top spot. Here is how the bracket looks going into the first round of the postseason.

Key Dates for MLS Cup 2021 Playoffs

Here are the key dates for this season’s MLS Cup Playoffs.

• Saturday, November 20; Sunday, November 21; and Tuesday, November 23 — the six Round One matches will be played.

• Thursday, November 25, Sunday, November 28; and Tuesday, November 30 — the Conference Semifinals will be played.

• Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5 — the Conference Finals will be played.

• Saturday, December 11 — MLS Cup Final will be played.

The MLS Cup Final will be hosted by the team which recorded the most points of the two finalists during the regular season.

What are the betting odds for the MLS Cup 2021 Playoffs?

Courtesy of Bet365 on Wednesday, November 10.

  • NE Revolution +333
  • COL Rapids +450
  • SEA Sounders +600
  • PHI Union +700
  • Sporting KC +1000
  • Nashville SC +1000
  • NYC FC +1200
  • POR Timbers +1600
  • ATL United +1600
  • VAN Whitecaps +2500
  • MIN United +2500
  • ORL City +3300
  • NY Red Bulls +4000
  • Real Salt Lake +5000

Which team will win the MLS Cup 2021?

The New England Revolution go into the MLS postseason as favorites. The Revs had the MLS’s best regular-season points total of 73. They had 12 more points than their nearest rival, the Colorado Rapids.

The Revs won the MLS Supporters’ Shield, which is handed out to the team with the best regular-season points total. The problem with being the Supporters’ Shield winner is that it doesn’t guarantee a team the MLS Cup.

Just seven times in 26 MLS seasons have the Supporters’ Shield winner gone on to win the MLS Cup. Just once in the last 10 seasons has the Supporters’ Shield winner claimed the MLS Cup too. Just once in 26 seasons has the Supporters’ Shield winner reached the MLS Cup Final and lost.

The MLS Cup Playoffs rewards teams that were not the best during the regular season and simply make the playoffs. The wildcard for New England Revolutions could be coach Bruce Arena. He is the United States’ most legendary soccer coach. Arena has won five MLS Cups previously with DC United and LA Galaxy.

However, he hasn’t won an MLS Cup since 2014 when the LA Galaxy’s David Beckham-inspired dynasty ended. It was a completely different MLS era. How different was it? MLS had only 19 teams and not 27. Only eight teams made the playoffs proper. Based on this, the Revolutions’ chances of winning the 2021 MLS Cup isn’t a sure thing.

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