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MLS Cup Round 1 preview: Everything you need to know

Taylor Twellman breaks down Josef Martinez's movement ahead of Atlanta United vs. New England Revolution.
The 2019 MLS Cup playoffs begin with Round 1 kicking off Saturday.

The international break has come and gone, meaning the revamped MLS Cup playoffs are about to kick off. A 14-team field, single elimination all the way to MLS Cup, no more international breaks interrupting the postseason in its most dramatic moments -- the 2019 playoffs have a fresh, vibrant feel. With that buzz firmly established, we break down each of the six Round 1 matchups, which start Saturday.

Jump to: Atlanta vs. New England | Seattle vs. Dallas | Toronto vs. D.C. | Salt Lake vs. Portland...

MLS suspends ban on Iron Front flag for season

The Timbers Army went silent for the first 33 minutes of Friday's match against the archrival Seattle Sounders.

Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday that it has suspended its ban on fans waving the Iron Front flag for the rest of the 2019 season, including the playoffs.

MLS had previously banned displays of the flag, which has three arrows pointed downward and to the left that was first used by an anti-Nazi paramilitary group in the 1930s, saying that it violated a provision in its Fan Code of Conduct that prohibited political signage.

MLS stated that since the Iron Front symbol is linked with antifa,...

Seven Sounders fans assaulted after D.C. game

Wayne Rooney came close with several chances, but had to settle for just an assist in D.C. United's 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders. To watch MLS, subscribe to ESPN+.

Seven Seattle Sounders fans were assaulted following Sunday's match between the Sounders and D.C. United, according to a report filed with Washington D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, states that the fans were leaving Audi Field, and were about a block east of the stadium when they were confronted by approximately 12 D.C. United supporters who initiated a confrontation by pushing, punching and kicking the victims.

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