2020 MLS Cup Playoffs

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2020 MLS Cup Playoffs
Tournament details
CountryUnited States
DatesNovember 20 – December 12
Defending championsSeattle Sounders FC
Final positions
ChampionsColumbus Crew SC
(2nd title)
Runner-upSeattle Sounders FC
Tournament statistics
Matches played17
Goals scored50 (2.94 per match)
Top goal scorer(s)Trinidad and Tobago Kevin Molino
(4 goals)
← 2019
2021 →

The 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs (branded as the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for sponsorship reasons) was the 25th edition of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the post-season championship of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top soccer league in the United States and Canada. The tournament culminated the 2020 MLS regular season. The playoffs began on November 20 and concluded with MLS Cup 2020 on December 12.[1]

On October 29, the league announced that the final regular season standings and playoff qualification would be determined by points per game rather than by overall points. This was due to eight MLS clubs, all in the Western Conference, being unable to play all of their scheduled 23 regular season matches in time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven postponed matches were cancelled altogether in order for the playoffs to be able to start on the scheduled date.[2] A 12-day break between Decision Day and the start of the playoffs was added to accommodate an international break; MLS waived quarantine requirements for players who returned on charter flights, but several positive cases affected the opening rounds.[3][4]

The 2020 regular season Supporters' Shield champions were the Philadelphia Union, who were eliminated in the first round by the New England Revolution.

Seattle Sounders FC were the defending MLS Cup champions, having won their second title in MLS Cup 2019. They were beaten by Columbus Crew SC 3–0 in the MLS Cup final. As a result, Columbus Crew SC earned their second MLS Cup title, and first since 2008.

Qualified teams[edit]

Conference standings[edit]

The top ten teams in the Eastern Conference and the top eight teams in the Western Conference advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs, with the teams ranked seventh to tenth in the East going through an initial play-in round. Background colors denote playoff teams, with green also qualifying for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League, and blue also qualifying for the 2021 Leagues Cup. The Portland Timbers and non-playoff Atlanta United FC qualified for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League as winners of the MLS is Back Tournament and 2019 U.S. Open Cup, respectively. Toronto FC qualified after being nominated by Canada Soccer by virtue of being the MLS finalists of the 2020 Canadian Championship.

Play-in round[edit]

This round was only applied to the Eastern Conference. The seventh-placed team, Nashville SC, played the tenth-placed team, Inter Miami CF, while the eighth-placed team, the New England Revolution, faced the ninth-placed team, the Montreal Impact. The lowest-ranked team to advance from this round, the New England Revolution, advanced to play the conference's first-placed team, the Philadelphia Union. The highest-ranked remaining team, Nashville SC, advanced to face the conference's second-placed team, Toronto FC.

New England Revolution2–1Montreal Impact
  • Gil 38'
  • Bou 90+5'
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Jair Marrufo

Nashville SC3–0Inter Miami CF
Attendance: 3,240[b]
Referee: Ismail Elfath

Playoffs proper bracket[edit]

First round
November 21–22, 24
Conference semifinals
November 29, December 1–3
Conference finals
December 6–7
December 12
E1 Philadelphia Union 0
E8 New England Revolution 2
E8 New England Revolution 3
E4 Orlando City SC 1
E4 Orlando City SC (p) 1 (6)
E5 New York City FC 1 (5)
E8 New England Revolution 0
Eastern Conference
E3 Columbus Crew SC 1
E3 Columbus Crew SC 3
E6 New York Red Bulls 2
E3 Columbus Crew SC (a.e.t.) 2
E7 Nashville SC 0
E2 Toronto FC 0
E7 Nashville SC (a.e.t.) 1
E3 Columbus Crew SC 3
W2 Seattle Sounders FC 0
W1 Sporting Kansas City (p) 3 (3)
W8 San Jose Earthquakes 3 (0)
W1 Sporting Kansas City 0
W4 Minnesota United FC 3
W4 Minnesota United FC 3
W5 Colorado Rapids 0
W4 Minnesota United FC 2
Western Conference
W2 Seattle Sounders FC 3
W3 Portland Timbers 1 (7)
W6 FC Dallas (p) 1 (8)
W6 FC Dallas 0
W2 Seattle Sounders FC 1
W2 Seattle Sounders FC 3
W7 Los Angeles FC 1

Note: The higher-seeded team hosted matches in the first three rounds. The team with the better regular season record hosted the final.
Source: 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs Bracket

First round[edit]

The top four teams in each conference hosted the first round matches.

Eastern Conference[edit]

Columbus Crew SC3–2New York Red Bulls
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Alex Chilowicz

Toronto FC0–1 (a.e.t.)Nashville SC
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Robert Sibiga

Philadelphia Union0–2New England Revolution
Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
Referee: Joseph Dickerson

Western Conference[edit]

Minnesota United FC3–0Colorado Rapids
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Ted Unkel

Seattle Sounders FC3–1Los Angeles FC
Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Kevin Stott

Conference semifinals[edit]

The higher-seeded teams in each match-up hosted the tie.

Eastern Conference[edit]

Orlando City SC1–3New England Revolution
Referee: Alex Chilowicz

Columbus Crew SC2–0 (a.e.t.)Nashville SC
Attendance: 0[a]

Western Conference[edit]

Seattle Sounders FC1–0FC Dallas
Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Robert Sibiga

Conference finals[edit]

The higher-seeded teams in each conference hosted the matches.

Eastern Conference[edit]

Columbus Crew SC1–0New England Revolution
Attendance: 1,500[8]

Western Conference[edit]

Seattle Sounders FC3–2Minnesota United FC
Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 0[a]
Referee: Ismail Elfath

MLS Cup 2020[edit]

As the highest-ranked team remaining in the overall table, Columbus Crew SC hosted the match.

Columbus Crew SC3–0Seattle Sounders FC
Attendance: 1,500
Referee: Jair Marrufo

Top goalscorers[edit]

There were 50 goals scored in 17 matches, for an average of 2.94 goals per match.

Rank Player Club Goals[9]
1 Trinidad and Tobago Kevin Molino Minnesota United FC 4
2 Argentina Gustavo Bou New England Revolution 3
3 Mali Bakaye Dibassy Minnesota United FC 2
Spain Carles Gil New England Revolution
Peru Raúl Ruidíaz Seattle Sounders FC
Portugal Pedro Santos Columbus Crew SC
United States Gyasi Zardes Columbus Crew SC
Armenia Lucas Zelarayán Columbus Crew SC


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i The match was held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
  2. ^ The match was held in restricted capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
  3. ^ Toronto FC hosted their playoff match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut. BMO Field was not available due to travel restrictions between Canada and the United States.[7]


  1. ^ "How the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will work: Qualifying and competition format". MLSsoccer.com. Major League Soccer. September 11, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  2. ^ "MLS to use points per game to determine final 2020 regular season standings" (Press release). Major League Soccer. October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  3. ^ Evans, Jayda (November 23, 2020). "In a season of coronavirus-related changes, Sounders' constant has been their will to win". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  4. ^ Straus, Brian (November 20, 2020). "MLS Reaches the Playoffs, but Completing Them Has a Distinct Set of Challenges". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  5. ^ "Nashville SC moves to Eastern Conference for remainder of 2020 season". MLSsoccer.com. Major League Soccer. June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Conference Standings – 2020". Major League Soccer. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  7. ^ "Toronto FC to play its home matches in Connecticut". Toronto FC. September 11, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  8. ^ Benatar, Orri (December 2, 2020). "Crew to permit fans for Eastern Conference Final". Massive Report. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  9. ^ "Playoffs Top Scorers". MLSsoccer.com. Major League Soccer. Retrieved December 12, 2020.