2018 MLS Cup Playoffs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2018 MLS Cup Playoffs
Tournament details
CountryUnited States
DatesOctober 31 – December 8
Defending championsToronto FC
(did not qualify)
Final positions
ChampionsAtlanta United FC
(1st title)
Runner-upPortland Timbers
Tournament statistics
Matches played17
Goals scored52 (3.06 per match)
Attendance494,421 (29,084 per match)
Top goal scorer(s)Venezuela Josef Martínez
Argentina Diego Valeri
(4 goals each)
← 2017
2019 →

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]

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 teams[edit]

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Conference standings[edit]

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


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

Knockout round[edit]


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
  • Hedges 90+4'
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 semifinals[edit]


Team 1 Agg.Tooltip Aggregate score 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
Zardes 61' Report
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
Report Remedi 37'
Attendance: 19,198
Referee: Kevin Stott
Atlanta United FC3–1New York City FC
Report Chanot 45'

Atlanta United win 4–1 on aggregate.

Portland Timbers2–1Seattle Sounders FC
Report Ruidíaz 10'
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
Rusnák 51' Report Rubio 60'
Sporting Kansas City4–2Real Salt Lake
Attendance: 19,918
Referee: José Carlos Rivero
Sporting Kansas City win 5–3 on aggregate.

Conference finals[edit]


Team 1 Agg.Tooltip Aggregate score 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 Cup[edit]

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

Top goalscorers[edit]

Rank Player Club Goals[5]
1 Venezuela Josef Martínez Atlanta United FC 4
Argentina Diego Valeri Portland Timbers
3 Argentina Sebastián Blanco Portland Timbers 3
Croatia Damir Kreilach Real Salt Lake
Peru Raúl Ruidíaz Seattle Sounders FC
Hungary Dániel Sallói Sporting Kansas City
7 Argentina Federico Higuaín Columbus Crew SC 2
Austria Daniel Royer New York Red Bulls
Chile Diego Rubio Sporting Kansas City
Argentina Franco Escobar Atlanta United FC

MLS Cup Playoffs Best XI[edit]

Year Goalkeeper Defenders Midfielders Forwards


United States Jeff Attinella (POR) United States Aaron Long (NYR)
United States Matt Besler (SKC)
Argentina Leandro González Pírez (ATL)
Argentina Franco Escobar (ATL)
Argentina Sebastián Blanco (POR)
Paraguay Miguel Almirón (ATL)
Colombia Diego Chará (POR)
Argentina Diego Valeri (POR)
Venezuela Josef Martínez (ATL)
Scotland Johnny Russell (SKC)


  1. ^ "Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs schedule revealed, final to be played on Dec. 8". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. September 8, 2018. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Baer, Benjamin (November 11, 2018). "Red Bull Arena or Mercedes-Benz Stadium to host 2018 MLS Cup". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  3. ^ Strauss, Brian (April 6, 2017). "MLS clubs have resolution over qualifying for future CCL after format change". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Strauss, Brian (April 6, 2017). "MLS clubs have resolution over qualifying for future CCL after format change". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Playoffs Top Scorers". Major League Soccer.
  6. ^ Boehm, Charles (December 11, 2018). "Team of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs: Who made the postseason Best XI?". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved December 12, 2018.