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Postseason berths and seeding for the 2021 MLS playoffs will likely come down to tiebreakers based on how jumbled teams are in both the Eastern and Western Conference standings.  

There are a total of six playoff berths up for grabs — three in each conference — heading into the final day of the regular season. Six teams are still in the mix in the East and another five in the West.

Also, the only teams that are locked into their seeding are the New England Revolution (No. 1 in the East) and the Portland Timbers (No. 4 in the West). All the other teams are in a scrap to reach the highest seed possible, since it’s the higher seed that hosts every round of the playoffs.

MORE: Everything to know about the 2021 MLS playoffs

Per the official MLS competition rules, here are the standings tiebreakers if teams are even on points at the end of the regular season: 

  1. Total wins
  2. Goal differential (goals scored minus goals allowed)
  3. Total goals scored
  4. Fewest disciplinary points (as compiled by MLS)
  5. Goal differential in away matches
  6. Goals scored in away matches
  7. Goal differential in home matches
  8. Goals scored in home matches
  9. Coin toss (if two clubs tied) or drawing of lots (if three or more clubs tied)

MLS playoff standings 2021

The top seven teams in each conference advance to the MLS 2021 playoffs. In a playoff format that’s similar to the NFL’s, there are three rounds of single-elimination matches, each hosted by the higher seed, which determine the two conference champions that will advance to MLS Cup: 

  • First Round: No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6, No. 4 vs. No. 5 (higher seed hosts)
  • Conference Semis: No. 1 vs. No. 4/5, No. 3/6 vs. No. 2/7 (higher seed hosts)
  • Conference Finals: Two teams left standing in each conference (higher seed hosts)
  • MLS Cup: Conference champs face off (team with best reg. season record hosts)

Eastern Conference

Top seven teams make it. Four teams have already clinched (noted with an ‘X’), and the New England Revolution has secured the No. 1 seed. There are six teams left battling it out for the final three spots. Four have been eliminated (noted with an ‘E’).

Here are the East standings with one match left to play:

Team Points Wins Goal Diff. Goals For
1. New England (X) 73 22 +25 65
2. Philadelphia (X) 53 14 +13 47
3. Nashville (X) 53 12 +22 54
4. NYCFC (X) 50 14 +20 55
5. Atlanta United 48 12 +7 43
6. Orlando City 48 12 0 48
7. NY Red Bulls 47 13 +6 38
8. CF Montreal 46 12 +4 46
9. D.C. United 44 13 0 53
10. Columbus 44 12 -1 44
11. Inter Miami (E) 38 11 -18 35
12. Chicago Fire (E) 34 9 -16 36
13. Toronto FC (E) 28 6 -25 38
14. FC Cincinnati (E) 20 4 -36 36

Western Conference

The top seven teams make it. Four teams have already clinched (noted with an ‘X’). There are five teams left battling for the final three spots. Four have been eliminated (noted with an ‘E’).

Here are the West standings with one match left to play:

Team Points Wins Goal Diff. Goals For
1. Seattle (X) 59 17 +20 52
2. Sporting KC (X) 58 17 +19 58
3. Colorado (X) 58 16 +13 46
4. Portland (X) 52 16 +1 53
5. Minnesota 48 13 -2 39
6. Vancouver 48 12 0 44
7. LA Galaxy 47 13 -4 47
8. Real Salt Lake 45 13 0 54
9. LAFC 45 12 +5 51
10. SJ Earthquakes (E) 40 10 -8 45
11. FC Dallas (E) 32 7 -9 46
12. Austin FC (E) 31 9 -18 35
13. Houston Dynamo (E) 30 6 -18 36



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