Here's your viewers guide to this year's Major League Soccer playoffs. National television broadcasts in the United States will be spread across a range of ESPN, NBC and Univision networks. In Canada, TSN and RDS will broadcast select games.
Any games not nationally televised will be available via MLS Live and Direct Kick.
As you all have sen by now, the conference semifinals produced a traffic jam of 10 games in a week and a half. Though the soccer was among the best we've ever seen inthe MLS playoffs, the frenetic schedule was too much for many fans - never mind the teams involved - to properly handle.
Why did it have to be this way? Here's as simple an explanation as I can give you.
The last weekend of regular season results wrought havoc on the calendar because Seattle fell into the Western Conference wild card game. Both the Sounders and New England Revolution could not play their conference semifinal home games on Sunday, November 3, because the NFL teams with which they share their stadiums were at home. So MLS and its television partners had to work backwards from there.
That's why ESPN ended up taking the Real Salt Lake-Los Angeles series, and why the Portland-Seattle series ended up with terrible kickoff times for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones.
All times below are Eastern, and indicate when broadcast windows start. Games that are NBCSN simulcasts of local broadcasts will have NBCSN blacked out in the participating local markets.
As regards broadcast talent, ESPN has one crew for all of its games: Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman, Alexi Lalas and Monica González. NBC will use multiple crews, and you can find a schedule here.
You can also listen to many games on SiriusXM satellite radio. Their schedule of broadcasts is here.
Wild Card Round
W4. Seattle Sounders vs. W5. Colorado Rapids: Wednesday, October 30 at CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash. (10:30 p.m., NBCSN simulcast of KONG in Seattle/ROOT Sports Northwest/Altitude 2 in Denver/MLS Live outside of local markets)
E4. Houston Dynamo vs. E5. Montréal Impact: Thursday, October 31 at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas (8:30 p.m., NBCSN simulcast of Comcast SportsNet Houston/TSN2/RDS/MLS Live outside of local markets)
Eastern Conference Semifinals
E1. New York Red Bulls vs. E4. Houston Dynamo
First leg: Sunday, November 3 at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas 3:30 p.m., (NBC/RDS2 tape-delayed at 7:00 p.m.)
Second leg: Wednesday, November 6 at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J., (8:00 p.m., Univision Deportes/MSG Network/Comcast SportsNet Houston Alternate/RDS2)
E2. Sporting Kansas City vs. E3. New England Revolution
First leg: Saturday, November 2 at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass. (8:00 p.m., NBCSN simulcast of Comcast SportsNet New England/KSMO in Kansas City and regional partners/RDS2/MLS Live outside of local markets)
Second leg: Wednesday, November 6 at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. (9:00 p.m., KSMO in Kansas City/Comcast SportsNet New England Alternate)
Western Conference Semifinals
W1. Portland Timbers vs. W4. Seattle Sounders
First leg: Saturday, November 2 at CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash. or Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo. (10:00 p.m., NBCSN)
Second leg: Thursday, November 7 at JELD-WEN Field (11:00 p.m., NBCSN/Univision Deportes/TSN2)
W2. Real Salt Lake vs. W3. Los Angeles Galaxy
First leg: Sunday, November 3 at The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif. (9:00 p.m., ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN2/RDS2)
Second leg: Thursday, November 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah (9:00 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/TSN2)
Eastern Conference: E2. Sporting Kansas City vs. E4. Houston Dynamo
First leg: Saturday, November 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas (2:30 p.m., NBC/Univision Deportes/RDS2)
Second leg: Saturday, November 23 at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. (7:30 p.m., NBCSN/RDS2)
Western Conference: W1. Portland Timbers vs. W2. Real Salt Lake
First leg: Sunday, November 10 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, (9:00 p.m., ESPN/ESPN Deportes/RDS2)
Second leg: Sunday, November 24 at JELD-WEN Field, Portland, Ore. (9:00 p.m., ESPN/ESPN Deportes/RDS2)
MLS Cup Final
E2. Sporting Kansas City vs. W2. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, December 7 at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. (4:00 p.m., ESPN/UniMás/TSN2/RDS2)