Playoff format: Each team hosts a match in the two-game, first-round series, with total goals determining the winner. If the series is even after the second game, a 30-minute overtime period and, if necessary, a penalty kick tiebreaker will be played. The conference finals will be one game, hosted by the higher remaining seeds, on Nov. 5 or 6. MLS Cup will be played Nov. 14 at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (3:30 p.m., ABC-TV).
D.C. UNITED vs. N.Y./N.J. METROSTARS
Schedule: Game 1, Oct. 23 at Giants Stadium, 7:30 (Comcast SportsNet); Game 2, Oct. 30 at RFK Stadium, 7 (Fox Sports World).
Records: United 11-10-9, MetroStars 11-12-7.
Leading Scorers: United F Jaime Moreno, 7 goals and 14 assists; MetroStars MF Amado Guevara, 10 goals and 10 assists.
Season Series: United won, 3-1-0.
Of Note: United has won three in a row and five of six, while the MetroStars are winless in their last three games and 2-6-2 since mid-August. Since a 3-2 loss to the MetroStars in April, United has beaten its archrivals three straight times by a combined score of 10-4.
Fearless Prediction: United.
COLUMBUS CREW vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Schedule: Game 1, Oct. 23 at Gillette Stadium, 7:30; Game 2, Oct. 31 at Columbus Crew Stadium, 5 (ESPN2).
Records: Crew 12-5-13, Revolution 8-13-9.
Leading Scorers: Crew F Edson Buddle, 11 goals and 2 assists; Revolution F Pat Noonan , 11 goals and 8 assists.
Season Series: Columbus won, 2-0-2.
Of Note: The Crew is 12-2-11 since an 0-3-2 start and is currently on an MLS-record 18-game unbeaten streak (8-0-10), which began July 3. New England, in last place much of the season, snuck into the playoffs with a 2-1 victory over Chicago last weekend.