Update: The San Jose Earthquakes will take on their archrivals, the LA Galaxy, Sunday, Nov. 4, in Los Angeles at 6 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on ESPN/Deportes and in Canada on TSN2 and RDS2.
Soccer is taking over where baseball left off.
The first Major League Soccer playoff game was yesterday. And the Bay Area’s own San Jose Earthquakes, with the best record in Major League Soccer, stand an excellent chance of going all the way.
They start with a game this Sunday against either Vancouver or their archrival, Los Angeles (at either 6 p.m or 7:30 p.m. PST). So you might want to follow a few games. Radio is easy: KLIV (1590 San Jose) will do play-by-play in English and KZSF 1370 in Spanish every Earthquake game.
You can also get into a live chat on every game on the MLS homepage. And you can read live Twitter coverage from sports journalist Robert Jonas, whose Twitter handle is @RobertJonas and from the team @QuakesMatchDay.
TV is another matter. It’s not like tuning into the World Series where you can just turn on your TV set. If you want to watch the Quakes, you’ll have to tune into different channels for different games.
It’s not even clear which channels you’ll need yet, because the Quakes’ opponents have not been determined. But here’s a rough guide according to the team spokesman Frank Stranzl.
The Quakes’ games will mostly be on ESPN, and if you don’t subscribe to that channel, you may be able to watch online at WatchESPN.
It’s also possible that one Earthquakes game will be on NBC.
If Vancouver beats LA in the game Thursday night, then the Quakes will will play Vancouver Sunday. You can watch either on the Comcast channel CSNBayArea (click the “Watch” button), or on the MLS website (click “MLS Live”).
So what’s the schedule?
Here’s the official word from the league:
NEW YORK (Monday, October 29, 2012) – The MLS Cup Playoffs begin this Wednesday, Oct. 31, when the Chicago Fire host the Houston Dynamo in a single-game Knockout Match. On Thursday, Nov. 1, the LA Galaxy will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the other Knockout Match.
Each Knockout Round winner will face its respective conference leader – San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference and Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference – in a two-leg, aggregate goals Conference Semifinal series. The second- and third-place teams in each conference also will square off in the Conference Semifinals – Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC and D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls.
Unlike previous years, the Conference Championships will also be decided by two-leg aggregate goals series, with the winners advancing to MLS Cup 2012 on December 1 – hosted by the finalist with the better regular season record.
Below is the MLS Cup Playoffs schedule with live national television broadcasts. It is subject to change, and more details will be determined at a later date.
Knockout Round (Home teams listed first):
- Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo – Wed., Oct. 31, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2)
- LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Thurs., Nov. 1, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN, RDS2, UDN)
Eastern Conference Semifinals First Leg (Home teams listed first):
- New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United – Sat., Nov. 3, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
- CHI or HOU vs. Sporting Kansas City – Sun., Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Second Leg (Home teams listed first):
- D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls – Wed., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2)
- Sporting Kansas City vs. CHI or HOU – Wed., Nov. 7, 9 p.m. ET (MLS Live, Direct Kick)
Western Conference Semifinal First Leg (Home teams listed first):
- Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake — Fri., Nov. 2, 10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
- LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Sun., Nov. 4, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2) OR Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Sun., Nov. 4, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2)
Second Leg (Home teams listed first):
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC – Thu., Nov. 8, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes or MLS Live/UDN, TSN2, RDS2)
- San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA – Wed., Nov. 7, 11 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2 OR San Jose Earthquakes vs. VAN – Wed. Nov. 7, Time TBD (MLS Live/TSN2, RDS2)
Conference Championships First Leg (at lower seed)
- Eastern Conference – Sat., Nov. 10, 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
- Western Conference – Sun., Nov. 11, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2) OR if at Seattle: Mon., Nov 12, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2)
Second Leg (at higher seed)
- TBD – Sat., Nov. 17 or Sun., Nov. 18, Time TBD (NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2)
- TBD – Sun., Nov. 18, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN/Deportes, TSN2)
MLS Cup 2012 Saturday, December 1 (hosted by finalist with best regular season record) 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, TeleFutura, TSN, RDS) Site TBD
Key to television networks:
Deportes = ESPNDeportes (Spanish) NBCSN = NBC Sports Network RDS & RDS2 = in Canada (French) TSN & TSN2 = in Canada (English) UDN = Univision Deportes Network (Spanish)