With an exhilarating slate of Round One matches in the rearview mirror, the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs roll onward with four nationally televised fixtures spread across Wednesday and Thursday night. Each conference semifinal battle packs a compelling punch, so let's jump straight into the matchups.
Wednesday, Oct. 23: (1) New York City FC vs. (4) Toronto FC
6 p.m. CT | FS1 & FOX Deportes
Scheduling conflicts at Yankee Stadium have prompted this game to be played at yet another baseball stadium in Citi Field. Both clubs were remarkably tough to beat over the final two months of the regular season: NYCFC finished a scorching 8-1-2 to claim top spot in the East, while Toronto FC have gone unbeaten in 11 games since falling on Aug. 3. NYCFC were the better side over the course of 2019, but the Reds have championship DNA and more playoff experience.
Wednesday, Oct. 23: (2) Seattle Sounders FC vs. (3) Real Salt Lake
9 p.m. CT | FS1 & FOX Deportes
The Sounders are making their MLS-record 11th straight postseason appearance and have a knack for winning close games, as evidenced by their wild 4-3 victory over FC Dallas in Round One and their league-best 12 single-goal wins during the regular season. With the likes of Nico Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidiaz providing threats, RSL will have to take their chances at CenturyLink Field if they wish to spring the upset.
Thursday, Oct. 24: (2) Atlanta United FC vs. (3) Philadelphia Union
7 p.m. CT | ESPN2 & ESPN Deportes
The defending MLS Cup champions have their sights set on building a dynasty, while their opponents are looking to parlay the momentum of their first-ever playoff win into something far more. Atlanta took care of business against New England on Saturday, but their next step towards another title appears formidable. The Philadelphia Union erased a 3-1 halftime deficit on Sunday to win a 4-3 extra-time thriller against the Red Bulls, exorcising a decade of elimination-game demons in the process.
Thursday, Oct. 24: (1) LAFC vs. (5) LA Galaxy
9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN | ESPN Deportes
Yes, please. And thank you very much. LA Galaxy's 2-0 road win over Minnesota on Sunday gave MLS fans across the globe the matchup they so desperately desired: Round Three of El Trafico at Bank of California Stadium. In what might be the most hyped game in MLS history, MLS MVP frontrunner Carlos Vela and Supporters' Shield champion LAFC will welcome Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy for a true Hollywood spectacle. LAFC enjoyed one of the best regular seasons of all-time in 2019, but they have yet to beat their crosstown neighbors in five attempts. Grab your friends, some popcorn and a few cool ones—and enjoy what will surely be a riveting show on Thursday night.