Even though Sounders FC were eliminated from the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs in dramatic fashion Sunday night, four teams will continue their quest for the Cup when the postseason resumes later this month.
The league will take break on Nov. 15 to honor the FIFA international window before resuming the following week, with both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Championships beginning on Nov. 22, and concluding on Nov. 29.
Here’s a quick look at each series.
Eastern Conference Championship
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC
The top-seeded Red Bulls will travel to Columbus to open the series on Nov. 22 (2 p.m. PT; ESPN) after sweeping aside I-95 rival D.C. United in the conference semifinals for the second consecutive season. New York hardly broke a sweat in the series against D.C and ultimately won 2-0 on aggregate, thanks to goals from Dax McCarty and Bradley Wright-Phillips. They’re back in the Conference Championship for the second time in as many years, this time with a much smaller payroll and MLS Coach of the Year candidate Jesse Marsch leading the way.
The Crew, meanwhile, are back in the conference championship for the first time since 2008 after prevailing over the Montreal Impact in one of the most exciting postseason series in recent memory. After falling 2-1 in the opening leg at Stade Saputo, the Crew rode two goals from Kei Kamara – including one in extra time - to a 3-2 win in the second leg on Sunday in Columbus.
Despite each team’s lengthy MLS history, this is only their third meeting in the playoffs. They met most famously in the 2008 MLS Cup – the Crew won that one under current Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid – and Columbus also trounced the then-Metro Stars in the 1998 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Red Bulls won the season series this year, posting a 2-1 win in Columbus on March 28 and a 2-1 win at Red Bull Arena on Oct. 3. The Crew beat the Red Bulls 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium on July 4.
The second leg of the series will be played on Nov. 29 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
Western Conference Championship
FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
After getting by the Sounders in the Western Conference Semifinals, top-seeded FC Dallas faces another Cascadia foe on the path to the MLS Cup Final. Dallas managed to erase a 2-1 deficit after the first leg against Seattle and ultimately won the series in a penalty shootout, thanks to opportunistic late goals from subs Tesho Akindele and Walker Zimmerman and the play of 20-year-old goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, who saved two of four shots faced in the penalty shootout. This is the first time FC Dallas has been in the Western Conference Championship since 2010, when they upset the LA Galaxy en route to their first-ever appearance in the MLS Cup Final.
The Timbers are back in the Western Conference Championship for the second time in three years after dumping Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 on aggregate in the semifinals. After grinding out a scoreless draw at home in the first leg, the Timbers became the first team in this postseason to win on the road with a comprehensive victory Sunday night at BC Place in Vancouver.
The Timbers will host the first leg at Providence Park on Nov. 22 (4:30 p.m. PT; ESPN) before FC Dallas take the series home to Toyota Park on Nov. 29.
These two teams have never met in the postseason, but they split the season series in 2015. Portland won 3-1 at home on April 4 and FC Dallas returned the favor by a 4-1 margin on July 25 in Frisco.
There is some history, however, between the two coaches. Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter and Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja famously squabbled over a used tissue during their postgame handshake on April 4, leaving Porter to later comment that “I've never had a coach come up and disrespect me like that.”