Instead of a standard best-of-three series, each quarterfinal and semifinal of the MLS playoffs is won by the first team to accumulate five points. Just like in the regular season, three points were awarded for a win and one for a tie. The standard 10-minute, sudden-death overtime is played following each game in the event the score is tied. The winner of the series is the first team to reach or exceed five points within the three games. Should the series remain even on points following regulation or overtime of the third game (3-3, or 4-4) the two clubs would move directly to an additional 20-minute “golden-goal” overtime period (two 10-minute halves). If neither team scores during the 20-minute period, the game would be decided on penalty kicks.
|Sept. 22||at Miami 2, Kansas City 0|
|Sept. 26||at Kansas City 3, Miami 0|
|Sept. 29||at Miami 2, Kansas City 1|
|Miami wins series, 6-3|
|Sept. 22||San Jose 3, at Columbus 1|
|Sept. 26||at San Jose 3, Columbus 0|
|San Jose wins series, 6-0|
|Sept. 23||at Los Angeles 1, N.Y./N.J. 1|
|Sept. 26||at N.Y./N.J. 4, Los Angeles 1|
|Sept. 29||at Los Angeles 3, N.Y./N.J. 2 (OT)|
|Series tied 4-4, Los Angeles wins series in tiebreaker|
|Sept. 20||at Chicago 2, Dallas 0|
|Sept. 23||at Dallas 1, Chicago 1|
|Sept. 29||at Chicago 2, Dallas 0|
|Chicago wins series, 7-1|
Teams earn three points for a win and one point for a tie; first team to earn five points advances.
|Oct. 10||at Miami 1, San Jose 0|
|Oct. 14||at San Jose 4, Miami 0|
|Oct. 17||San Jose 1, at Miami 0|
| ||(San Jose wins series, 6 points to 3)|
|Oct. 10||Los Angeles 1, at Chicago 1|
|Oct. 13||at Los Angeles 1, Chicago 0 (OT)|
|Oct. 17||Los Angeles 2, at Chicago 0|
| ||(Los Angeles wins series, 7 points to 1)|
MLS Cup 2001
San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1 (OT)
Oct. 21 at Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
First Half: LA-Luis Hernandez (Greg Vanney, Kevin Hartman), 21st minute; SJ-Landon Donovan (Ian Russell, Richard Mulrooney), 43rd.
Overtime: SJ-Dwayne DeRosario (Ronnie Ekelund, Zak Ibsen), 96th.
MVP: Dwayne DeRosario, San Jose, Forward
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