2011 MLS Cup Playoffs

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2011 MLS Cup Playoffs
2011 MLS Cup Playoffs logo.jpg
CountryUnited States
Canada
Teams10
Defending championsColorado Rapids
ChampionsLos Angeles Galaxy (3rd title)
Runners-upHouston Dynamo
Semi-finalists
Matches played13
Goals scored27 (2.08 per match)
Top goal scorer(s)United States Landon Donovan
United States Mike Magee

Costa Rica Álvaro Saborío
(3 goals each)
2010
2012

The 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs was the sixteenth post-season tournament culminating the Major League Soccer regular season. The tournament began on October 26 with the play-in round and concluded on November 20 with the championship match. It was the first playoff series to include ten clubs, two more than the traditional eight. Six of the ten teams earned a direct bye into the conference semifinals, while the four wildcard teams played a single-elimination match to earn a berth into the conference semis. These eight clubs played in a single-elimination tournament en route to playoffs championship MLS Cup 2011, which doubles as the league championship for the 2011 MLS season altogether.

The defending MLS Cup champions were the Colorado Rapids, who beat FC Dallas 2–1 in the 2010 championship.

As the preliminary round was eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League, both finalists directly entered 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage, along with the Supporters' Shield winner for the regular season and the 2011 U.S. Open Cup champion. However, none of these berths were available to the league's two Canadian teams, which instead participated in the Canadian Championship for that country's single berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Format[edit]

The format for the tournament was announced on February 23, 2011.[1] The top three clubs in each of the league's two conferences will earn the six automatic spots in the quarterfinals.[1] The wild-card entrants, seeded seventh through tenth, will enter based upon their overall position in a single table of the league standings.[1] The new format is assembled so that the weakest seed to qualify out of the wild-card rounds will have to play the Supporters' Shield winner.[1] The other entrant will play the conference champion that did not win the Shield.[1]

The playoffs will begin with the Play-in round, which will contain the wildcard seeds. The first and second-placed wildcard seeds (seventh and eight place, respectively) will host the third and fourth-placed wildcard seeds (ninth and tenth place, respectively). The winners of each play-in proper will earn a berth into the conference semifinals, or the quarterfinals, of the playoffs.

Following the play-in round, will be the conference semifinals, where the two play-in round winners will join the six clubs that earned a direct bye into this round. The conference semifinals, will be a two-legged, aggregate series, in which each team plays their opponent twice: once at home, and once away. The team with the most goals accumulated over the two-match series will win the series and qualify for the conference championship. In this round, the lowest seeded wildcard team to advance will play against the MLS Supporters' Shield winner (regular season champion). The other wildcard seed will play against either the Eastern or Western Conference regular season champion, depending on which conference champion wins the Supporters' Shield. Also in the conference semifinals, feature the conference runners-up and third-place finishes from both the Eastern and Western Conference.[1]

The semifinal round, or the conference championship, will feature the winners from the conference semifinals. This round will be a one-legged affair, in which the higher seeded club will host the lower seed. The winner of this match, earns a berth into the 2011 MLS Cup championship, as well as a guaranteed berth in the 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League.

The Eastern Conference and Western Conference bracket winners will meet in the MLS Cup final, which will be held at the pre-determined neutral venue. This year, the final will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, home of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.[1] The MLS Cup winner will be crowned league champion for the 2011 MLS season.[1]

Qualification[edit]

The top three clubs from each conference, based on final point totals, will qualify for the playoffs. From among the remaining clubs, the top 4 qualify as wild cards, and will have a 2-leg play-in round to narrow the field to 8. The Los Angeles Galaxy were the first MLS club to qualify for the playoffs, qualifying with a 1–0 win over Colorado Rapids on September 9.[2]

Conference standings[edit]

Eastern table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts
1 Sporting Kansas City (E1) 34 13 9 12 50 40 +10 51 2011 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals
2 Houston Dynamo 34 12 9 13 45 41 +4 49
3 Philadelphia Union 34 11 8 15 44 36 +8 48
4 Columbus Crew 34 13 13 8 43 44 −1 47 2011 MLS Cup Play-In Round
5 New York Red Bulls 34 10 8 16 50 44 +6 46
6 Chicago Fire 34 9 9 16 46 45 +1 43
7 D.C. United 34 9 13 12 49 52 −3 39
8 Toronto FC 34 6 13 15 36 59 −23 33
9 New England Revolution 34 5 16 13 38 58 −20 28
Updated to match(es) played on October 20, 2011. Source: MLSSoccer.com

(E1) = Eastern Conference champion

  • ^Note 1 - The top three clubs in each conference are guaranteed spots in the 2011 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals. The other four clubs in the playoffs enter via-wild card entrees, regardless of their conference, based on their overall standings in a single table.

Western table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts
1 LA Galaxy (SS, W1) 34 19 5 10 48 28 +20 67 2011 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals
2 Seattle Sounders FC 34 18 7 9 56 37 +19 63
3 Real Salt Lake 34 15 11 8 44 36 +8 53
4 FC Dallas 34 15 12 7 42 39 +3 52 2011 MLS Cup Play-In Round
5 Colorado Rapids 34 12 9 13 46 42 +4 49
6 Portland Timbers 34 11 14 9 40 48 −8 42
7 San Jose Earthquakes 34 8 12 14 40 45 −5 38
8 Chivas USA 34 8 14 12 41 43 −2 36
9 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 34 6 18 10 35 55 −20 28
Updated to match(es) played on October 22, 2011. Source: MLSSoccer.com

(SS) = Supporters Shield winner; (W1) = Western Conference champion

  • ^Note 1 - The top three clubs in each conference are guaranteed spots in the 2011 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals. The other four clubs in the playoffs enter via wild card entrees, regardless of their conference, based on their overall standings in a single table.

Overall standings[edit]

Pos Team Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts
1 LA Galaxy (SS, W1) 34 19 5 10 48 28 +20 67 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage 2
2 Seattle Sounders FC 34 18 7 9 56 37 +19 63
3 Real Salt Lake 34 15 11 8 44 36 +8 53
4 FC Dallas 34 15 12 7 42 39 +3 52
5 Sporting Kansas City (E1) 34 13 9 12 50 40 +10 51
6 Houston Dynamo 34 12 9 13 45 41 +4 49 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage 2
7 Colorado Rapids 34 12 9 13 44 41 +3 49
8 Philadelphia Union 34 11 8 15 44 36 +8 48
9 Columbus Crew 34 13 13 8 43 44 −1 47
10 New York Red Bulls 34 10 8 16 50 44 +6 46
11 Chicago Fire 34 9 9 16 46 45 +1 43
12 Portland Timbers 34 11 14 9 40 48 −8 42
13 D.C. United 34 9 13 12 49 52 −3 39
14 San Jose Earthquakes 34 8 12 14 40 45 −5 38
15 Chivas USA 34 8 14 12 41 43 −2 36
16 Toronto FC 34 6 13 15 36 59 −23 33 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round 3
17 New England Revolution 34 5 16 13 38 58 −20 28
18 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 34 6 18 10 35 55 −20 28
Updated to match(es) played on October 22, 2011 (NER v TFC). Source: MLSSoccer.com

(SS) = Supporters Shield winner; (E1) = Eastern Conference champion; (W1) = Western Conference champion

Tiebreakers[edit]

  1. Head-to-Head (Points-per-match average)
  2. Overall Goal Differential
  3. Overall Total Goals Scored
  4. Tiebreakers 1–3 applied only to matches on the road
  5. Tiebreakers 1–3 applied only to matches at home
  6. Fewest team disciplinary points in the League Fair Play table
  7. Coin toss

If more than two clubs are tied, once a club advances through any step, the process reverts to Tiebreaker 1 among the remaining tied clubs recursively until all ties are resolved.[3]

Bracket[edit]

  Knockout Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals MLS Cup 2011
                                       
    E1 Sporting Kansas City 2 2  
8 Colorado Rapids 1     WC Colorado Rapids 0 0    
  E1 Sporting Kansas City 0  
9 Columbus Crew 0     Eastern Conference
  E2 Houston Dynamo 2    
E2 Houston Dynamo 2 1
   
  E3 Philadelphia Union 1 0  
    E2 Houston Dynamo 0
  W1 LA Galaxy 1
  W2 Seattle Sounders FC 0 2    
W3 Real Salt Lake 3 0    
  W3 Real Salt Lake 1
7 FC Dallas 0   Western Conference
  W1 LA Galaxy 3  
10 New York Red Bulls 2     W1 LA Galaxy 1 2
 
    WC New York Red Bulls 0 1  

Note: The LA Galaxy, as MLS Supporters Shield winners, were assured of playing the lower seeded Wild Card series winner (New York Red Bulls) in the Conference Semifinals, while Sporting Kansas City would play the higher seeded Wild Card series winner (Colorado Rapids).

Schedule[edit]

Major League Soccer released the schedule for its playoffs on August 9, 2011.[4]

Key
  • SS = MLS Supporters' Shield winner
  • E1/W1 = Eastern or Western Conference winner
  • E2/W2 = Eastern or Western Conference runner-up
  • E3/W3 = Eastern or Western Conference third place
  • WC1 = Top wildcard seed (7th place overall)
  • WC2 = Second wildcard seed (8th place overall)
  • WC3 = Third wildcard seed (9th place overall)
  • WC4 = Fourth wildcard seed (10th place overall)

Play-in round[edit]

FC Dallas0 – 2New York Red Bulls
Report Lindpere Goal 61'
Henry Goal 90+8'
Attendance: 10,017

Colorado Rapids1 – 0Columbus Crew
Cummings Goal 45+1' Report
Attendance: 7,803
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez

Conference Semifinals[edit]

Eastern Conference[edit]

Colorado Rapids0 – 2Sporting Kansas City
Report Bunbury Goal 49'59' (pen.)
Attendance: 8,601
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Sporting Kansas City2 – 0Colorado Rapids
Collin Goal 28'
Sapong Goal 76'
Report

Sporting advances 4 - 0 on aggregate.


Philadelphia Union1 – 2Houston Dynamo
Le Toux Goal 7' Report Hainault Goal 6'
Carr Goal 30'
Attendance: 18,539 (SO)
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Houston Dynamo1 – 0Philadelphia Union
Ching Goal 45+3' Report
Attendance: 24,749
Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Houston advances 3 - 1 on aggregate.

Western Conference[edit]

New York Red Bulls0 – 1Los Angeles Galaxy
Report Magee Goal 15'
Attendance: 22,663
Referee: Alex Prus
Los Angeles Galaxy2 – 1New York Red Bulls
Magee Goal 42'
Donovan Goal 75' (pen.)
Report Rodgers Goal 4'
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Hilario Grajeda

Los Angeles advances 3 - 1 on aggregate.


Real Salt Lake3 – 0Seattle Sounders FC
Saborío Goal 41'53'
Grabavoy Goal 88'
Report
Attendance: 17,067
Referee: Mark Geiger
Seattle Sounders FC2 – 0Real Salt Lake
Alonso Goal 56' (pen.)
Neagle Goal 61'
Report

RSL advances 3 - 2 on aggregate.

Conference Finals[edit]

Host will depend on the higher seeded team. Single elimination match.[4]

Los Angeles Galaxy3 – 1Real Salt Lake
Donovan Goal 23' (pen.)
Magee Goal 58'
Keane Goal 68'
Report Saborío Goal 25'
Attendance: 23,437
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez

Sporting Kansas City0 – 2Houston Dynamo
Report Hainault Goal 53'
Costly Goal 87'
Attendance: 20,839
Referee: Mark Geiger

Final[edit]

Los Angeles Galaxy1 – 0Houston Dynamo
Donovan Goal 72' Report
Attendance: 30,281
Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Post-season statistical leaders[edit]

Note: Statistics only for post-season games.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "MLS reveals expanded playoffs structure for 2011". Major League Soccer. MLSSoccer.com. February 23, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  2. ^ Bueno, Luis (September 10, 2011). "Recap: Galaxy dominant in 1-0 home win over Colorado". Major League Soccer. MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "Playoff Standings: Complete table (UPDATED)". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "League announces fixture dates for 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs". MLS Communications. MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  5. ^ "2011 MLS Cup Playoffs". Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011.

External links[edit]