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MLS playoff dates announced, more sane international break timing in place

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Remember last season's playoff run and how disastrously weird the schedule was? The first and second legs of the conference championships were two weeks apart because of a FIFA international break, and there was another intervening week between the Western Conference Championship and the MLS Cup Final.

Well, MLS has announced the dates for 2014, and they're a bit more sane. There's not much time between the Conference Knockout Round and the Semifinals — two days between, really — so there's additional incentive to finish above fourth place, as usual.

This time around, the international break falls between the semifinals and the conference finals, which is a perfect time for it. Given the trickiness of organizing a playoff schedule around pervasive international breaks is difficult enough, and MLS has navigated it considerably better than last year.

Conference Knockout Round

Oct. 29-30 (Wed., Thurs.)

Conference Semifinals

Leg 1, Sat-Sun, Nov. 1-2

Leg 2, Sat-Sun, Nov. 8-9

Conference Championships

Leg 1, Sat-Sun, Nov. 22-23

Leg 2, Sat-Sun., Nov. 29-30

MLS Cup Final

3pm ET, Sun., Dec. 7