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The 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs (branded as the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for sponsorship reasons) began on October 31 and ended on December 8 with MLS Cup 2018, the 23rd league championship match for MLS. This was the 23rd version of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the tournament culminating the Major League Soccer regular season. Twelve teams, the top six of each conference, competed in the MLS Cup Playoffs.[1]

2018 MLS Cup Playoffs
2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Logo RGB 4C ltbg.png
CountryUnited States
Defending championsToronto FC
(did not qualify)
ChampionsAtlanta United FC (1st title)
Runners-upPortland Timbers
Matches played17
Goals scored52 (3.06 per match)
Top goal scorer(s)Venezuela Josef Martínez
Argentina Diego Valeri
(4 goals each)

The first round of each conference had the third-seeded team hosting the sixth seed while the fourth-seed hosted the fifth seed in a single match to determine who advanced to the Conference Semifinals. In the Conference Semifinals, the top seed played the lowest remaining seed while the second played the next-lowest. The winners advanced to the Conference Finals. Both the Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals were played as a two-legged aggregate series. The winners advanced to the MLS Cup, a single match hosted by the participant with the better regular season record which was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.[2]

Toronto FC were the defending MLS Cup champions, but failed to qualify for the playoffs. Atlanta United FC won their first MLS Cup title.


Qualified teamsEdit

Conference standingsEdit

The top six teams from each conference advanced to the MLS Cup playoffs.


Knockout Round  Conference Semifinals Conference Finals MLS Cup
10/31 – Bronx, New York              
E3  New York City FC  3
E3  New York City FC  0  1  1
E6  Philadelphia Union  1      
E2  Atlanta United FC  1  3  4  
Eastern Conference
11/1 – Washington, D.C. E2  Atlanta United FC  3  0  3
  E1  New York Red Bulls  0  1  1  
E4  D.C. United  2 (2)
E5  Columbus Crew  1  0  1
E5  Columbus Crew (p)  2 (3)   December 8 – Atlanta, Georgia
E1  New York Red Bulls  0  3  3  
10/31 – Frisco, Texas E2  Atlanta United FC  2
  W5  Portland Timbers  0
W4  FC Dallas  1
W5  Portland Timbers (p)  2  2  4 (4)
W5  Portland Timbers  2      
W2  Seattle Sounders FC  1  3  4 (2)  
Western Conference
11/1 – Los Angeles, California W5  Portland Timbers  0  3  3
  W1  Sporting Kansas City  0  2  2  
W3  Los Angeles FC  2
W6  Real Salt Lake  1  2  3
W6  Real Salt Lake  3  
W1  Sporting Kansas City  1  4  5  

Knockout RoundEdit


Team 1  Score  Team 2
Eastern Conference
New York City FC (E3) 3–1 Philadelphia Union (E6)
D.C. United (E4) 2–2
(2–3 p)
Columbus Crew SC (E5)
Western Conference
Los Angeles FC (W3) 2–3 Real Salt Lake (W6)
FC Dallas (W4) 1–2 Portland Timbers (W5)


FC Dallas1–2Portland Timbers
Attendance: 10,297
Referee: Alan Kelly

New York City FC3–1Philadelphia Union
Attendance: 15,153
Referee: Robert Sibiga

D.C. United2–2 (a.e.t.)Columbus Crew SC
Attendance: 20,600
Referee: Allen Chapman

Los Angeles FC2–3Real Salt Lake

Conference SemifinalsEdit


Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Eastern Conference
Columbus Crew SC (E5) 1–3 New York Red Bulls (E1) 1–0 0–3
New York City FC (E3) 1–4 Atlanta United FC (E2) 0–1 1–3
Western Conference
Real Salt Lake (W6) 3–5 Sporting Kansas City (W1) 1–1 2–4
Portland Timbers (W5) 4–4
(4–2 p)
Seattle Sounders FC (W2) 2–1 2–3 (a.e.t.)


Columbus Crew SC1–0New York Red Bulls
Attendance: 12,892
Referee: Nima Saghafi
New York Red Bulls3–0Columbus Crew SC

New York Red Bulls win 3–1 on aggregate.

New York City FC0–1Atlanta United FC
Attendance: 19,198
Referee: Kevin Stott
Atlanta United FC3–1New York City FC

Atlanta United win 4–1 on aggregate.

Portland Timbers2–1Seattle Sounders FC
Attendance: 21,144
Referee: Ted Unkel
Seattle Sounders FC3–2 (a.e.t.)Portland Timbers
Tied 4–4 on aggregate. Portland Timbers win 4–2 on penalties.

Real Salt Lake1–1Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City4–2Real Salt Lake
Attendance: 19,918
Referee: José Carlos Rivero
Sporting Kansas City win 5–3 on aggregate.

Conference FinalsEdit


Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Eastern Conference
Atlanta United FC (E2) 3–1 New York Red Bulls (E1) 3–0 0–1
Western Conference
Portland Timbers (W5) 3–2 Sporting Kansas City (W1) 0–0 3–2


Atlanta United FC3–0New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls1–0Atlanta United FC
Parker   90+4' Report

Atlanta United win 3–1 on aggregate.

Portland Timbers0–0Sporting Kansas City
Attendance: 21,144
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Sporting Kansas City2–3Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers win 3–2 on aggregate.

MLS CupEdit

Atlanta United FC2–0Portland Timbers
Attendance: 73,019
Referee: Alan Kelly

Top goalscorersEdit

MLS Cup Playoffs Best XIEdit


  1. ^ "Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs schedule revealed, final to be played on Dec. 8". Major League Soccer. September 8, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Baer, Benjamin (November 11, 2018). "Red Bull Arena or Mercedes-Benz Stadium to host 2018 MLS Cup". Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "Playoffs Top Scorers". Major League Soccer.
  4. ^ Boehm, Charles (December 11, 2018). "Team of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs: Who made the postseason Best XI?". Retrieved December 12, 2018.