ESPN's SPI gives home teams Knockout Round edge in MLS Cup Playoffs

Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy - Celebrates tying goal vs SKC

Home-field advantage is a hallmark in soccer, including MLS, where five of 20 teams logged fewer than two local losses in 2016. The projections for this week's Knockout Round games of the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs indicate it's absolutely essential come postseason.

ESPN's Soccer Power Index projects all four Knockout Round hosts to hold the edge heading in:

The Knockout Round slate kicks off Wednesday, with Toronto FC hosting the Philadelphia Union (7:30 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMás | TSN2/4 in Canada), followed by LA Galaxy facing Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm ET, UniMás | TSN4 in Canada).

On Thursday, D.C. United will take on the Montreal Impact (7:30 pm ET, UniMás, RDS2, MLS LIVE), with Seattle Sounders FC and Sporting Kansas City's nightcap clash (10 pm ET, FS1, UniMás | MLS LIVE in Canada) bringing the round to a close.