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MLS tie-break rewards offense … like LA’s

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Aug. 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm with 4 Comments »
August 17, 2012 5:02 pm

When the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders FC step onto the pitch at CenturyLink Field at 1 p.m. Saturday, they will be joined with Los Angeles in a three-way tie for third place in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer.

There’s still a lot of soccer to go in a regular-season that reaches almost to Halloween.
However, any clubs even in the standings at the end of the 34-match marathon will be separated by new criteria that reward offense.

“A team like L.A. that scores a lot of goals and gives up a lot of goals gains an advantage,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said today. “So, you can actually have a negative goal differential and you can be seeded ahead of somebody you’re tied with because you scored goals. Obviously, that’s the emphasis the league wants to put on it. But it’s not going to change how we approach a game on a game-by-game basis.”

In a procedure announced last week, ties in playoff positioning will be broken first by most total goals scored, then by goal differential. After that, in order: fewest disciplinary points, most road goals scored, greatest road-goal differential, most home goals scored, greatest home goal differential, and finally coin toss (two teams) or drawing lots (three or more).

Going into this weekend, the Galaxy has 44 goals, the Sounders have 32 and the Whitecaps 28. However, Seattle’s goal differential is plus-8, L.A.’s is plus-4, and Vancouver’s is minus-3.

“For us right now, the thing is points and not to be tied with anybody,” Schmid said. “So (the Vancouver game offers) three very important points. It’s a West Coast team, it’s a rival, it’s a six-point game, we’re tied with them right now, we’ve got some games in hand. But if we can get the three-point cushion and keep those games in hand, it makes it all the better.”

This season there is a heightened advantage to third place over fourth or fifth, because those final two qualifying clubs in each conference meet in a single loser-out game for the right to face the conference’s top seed. Meanwhile, the second- and third-place finishers meet in a two-game, home-and-away, aggregate-score series.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. EverydayFan says:

    That is SO MLS!

    Compare their goof-ball logic to this simple formula in the EPL:

    “If two or more teams have equal points, the following tiebreakers shall be employed: Goal Difference, Goals scored, Play-off at neutral venue (champion or relegation places only).”

    But the real story here, is that its SUCH AN AMAZING COINCIDENCE that MLS releases their “innovative” LA-favorable rules at the exact moment LA sits on the bubble with nothing to cling to but Goals scored….

    (I’m looking at you, Don Garber.)

  2. jimkingjr says:

    Yeah, change the rules over half-way through the season! Garber must go!

  3. Don Ruiz says:

    I asked Sigi about that. He indicated that the decision was made earlier — maybe even before the season — with only the public rollout now. Not sure why they did it that way, but it didn’t seem like this is something the clubs are just learning about now.

  4. jimkingjr says:

    It is garbage, whenever the decision was made. How does the unbalanced schedule change the utility of head-to-head? The teams thatb would be tied- at least until you get to seeding for the MLS Cup- will have played almost identical schedules, and of course will have played the same number of games against each other. That should always be the first tie-breaker. If there is a three way tie- well, each of the teams will have played each other the same number of times. I’ll repeat- Garber has to go!

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