Major League Soccer announced the 2016 playoff schedule today and with it, announced that FOX, UniMás, TSN and RDS will carry the championship match on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. CT. This also marks the first time in the league's 21 year history the MLS Cup Final will be held on a Saturday evening in primetime on network television.
The playoffs will official begin on October 26 with the Knockout Round on Oct 26th and 27th. After that, a two-game series will commence with the aggregate-goal format in play. Sadly, just like last year, there’s going to be an international FIFA window from Nov 7-15.
Most notably might be the possible time slots FC Dallas could fall into. Supporter’s Shield aside, assuming FCD is the top-ranked Western Conference team, there’s a possibility that they could end up in a late Sunday slot for the second leg of the conference semifinals.
The league has four slots on Sunday, Nov. 6: 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. (all Central Time) for those games and assuming the earlier slots go to Eastern Conference teams, there’s a possibility that FC Dallas would be hosting their leg at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night should a West Coast team not be hosting a game.
It’s all speculation at this point, but it’s worth keeping an eye on where the teams fall in the conference to see which teams will occupy each time slot.
For the conference finals, it’s much straightforward as the team would host the first-leg at 7 p.m. CT on Nov. 20, or the second-leg at 3 p.m. on Nov. 27.
The Eastern Conference championships happen mid-week due to the CFL’s championship schedule for those weekends, which occupy TSN airtime.
The good news is the massive step the league takes by having its championship game in a true championship-style time slot.