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After the 2010 playoffs featured eliminations of the top seeded teams, wild card entries will now play each other.

Perhaps partly in response to the 2010 playoff season that saw all the top seeds fail to reach the championship match, Major League Soccer announced the new format for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs.
 
Ten clubs will qualify for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs. Two new clubs, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers, have joined the league this season.
 
The top three finishers in each conference, based on regular season points (six automatic berths), and 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.

The 2011 MLS season starts Tuesday, March 15.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE                                 WESTERN CONFERENCE

Chicago Fire                                                     Chivas USA

Columbus Crew                                                 Colorado Rapids

D.C. United                                                       FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo                                              LA Galaxy

Sporting Kansas City                                         Portland Timbers

New England Revolution                                    Real Salt Lake

New York Red Bulls                                           San Jose Earthquakes

Philadelphia Union                                             Seattle Sounders FC

Toronto FC                                                       Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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