Sounders FC will open its MLS playoff run at 7 p.m. Saturday at Real Salt Lake in a game televised on Fox Soccer.
The two-game, aggregate-score Western Conference semifinal series will conclude Nov. 2 at CenturyLink Field, with the game being televised on ESPN2 at a time yet to be announced. Tickets for that game go on sale at 10 a.m. today.
The Sounders are aiming to win a playoff series for the first time in their three-season history, after being eliminated by Houston in 2009 and the Los Angeles Galaxy last season.
“We plan on going a lot further in the playoffs than we have before,” said goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who will retire after the playoffs. “It’s a different mentality. I’m not saying by any means that we’re looking ahead of anything. Salt Lake is a good team, and we know we need to be at our best. I feel maybe this year we’re at a better place starting the playoffs.”
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The Sounders concluded their regular season Saturday with a 3-1 win at Chivas USA. That gave them an 18-7-9 record, best in club history and second-best in MLS this season. It also paired them with RSL, who finished third in the Western Conference at 15-11-8.
The clubs split their regular-season series with Seattle winning 2-1 at Salt Lake on May 28, and RSL winning 2-1 at Seattle on Sept. 10.
Major League Soccer’s 16th regular season ended Sunday with Houston defeating Los Angeles, 3-1. Soon thereafter, the league announced pairings for its opening rounds.
The playoffs will begin with single-elimination wild-card matches: New York at Dallas and Columbus at Colorado.
The other two-game aggregate-score Western Conference semifinal pairs Los Angeles against the lower-seeded wild-card winner. Eastern semis will pair Kansas City and the higher-seeded wild-card winner, and Houston against Philadelphia.
The single-elimination conference championships will be played Nov 5-6 at the site of the higher-seeded club.
Dates and times will be announced later.
The MLS Cup final will be played Nov. 20 at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.