Crew to host playoff game Oct. 31

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Crew and Major League Soccer announced Thursday that Game Two of The Crew's Eastern Conference semifinal series will be played on Oct. 31 at 5 p.m. ET and be nationally televised on ESPN2. The opponent has yet to be determined, but it will be the fourth-seeded team in the East.

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Game One of the Eastern Conference semifinals will be played on either Oct. 23 or 24. The conference semifinals are two-game, home-and-home, total-goals series. If the teams are tied in total goals at the end of Game Two, a 30-minute overtime will be played (no sudden death). If the teams are still tied, the series will be decided by a penalty-kick tiebreaker.

If the Black & Gold advance to the Eastern Conference Final, it will be one game, and the Crew will host the game on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Crew Stadium. The same overtime and penalty-kick procedure as the conference semifinals will be in place.

MLS Cup is scheduled for Nov. 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with the same overtime and penalty-kick format. The final will be televised on ABC.

Tickets for Crew playoff games can be acquired at the Crew Stadium Box Office, at any area Kroger Ticket Master outlet, via phone at 614-431-3600 or on line at TheCrew.com. Crew season ticket holders have Game One of the playoffs in their ticket packages.

Wednesday night in Chicago, an Edson Buddle goal sent the Crew into the Major League Soccer record books and clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the MLS Cup Playoffs, as they extended their unbeaten streak to 16 games with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field.

Buddle hammered home a free kick goal in the 59th minute from just outside the penalty area to push him into a six-way tie first-place for goals in MLS with 11 and give the Crew its first-ever Eastern Conference regular-season title.

The Crew last lost in a league game on June 26, a 2-1 defeat by the Colorado Rapids, and their unbeaten streak was already the longest contained in a single season. But Wednesday's victory puts the Crew alone in the MLS records with the longest-ever unbeaten run, surpassing the 15-game streak reeled off by the Los Angeles Galaxy over the end of the 1997 season and start of the '98 campaign.

The defeat left the Fire still three points ahead of New England in fourth place, but their playoff position is not yet guaranteed and while they still control their own destiny, it is becoming more likely that their fate will be determined in the season finale on Oct. 16 when they play the Revolution in New England.

The Crew remain on the road this weekend, when they travel to Giants Stadium to face the MetroStars on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Columbus wraps up the regular season on Oct. 16 against Colorado at 9 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised on UPN Columbus.

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