MLS announces new tiebreaker system for 2012

Goals For, Goal Difference and Disciplinary Points to break ties

MLS announced on Wednesday a new system of playoff tiebreakers that will come into effect this year. 

The tiebreakers - which will determine playoff seeding in the event that two (or more) teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season - are now, in order, Goals Scored, Goal Differential and Disciplinary Points. The new tiebreaking system was put into place because the previous tiebreaking system - which used head-to-head record as the first tiebreaker - no longer works with the league's new, conference-based schedule. 

The changes to the system were recommended by the Technical Committee - which has representation from all 19 clubs - before the start of the 2012 season and officially approved by the MLS Board of Governors in April. 

Goals Scored was adopted as the first tiebreaker because the Technical Committee wanted to encourage attacking soccer throughout the league. Disciplinary Points was chosen as the third tiebreaker because all club owners and technical staff - including RSL's - want to encourage that the game be played in a respectful and safe manner. Goal Differential remains as the No. 2 tiebreaker. 

RSL stacks up pretty well in the first two tiebreakers, currently third in the West and tied for fourth in the league in both Goals Scored and Goal Differential. The Claret-and-Cobalt don't look as good when it comes to Disciplinary Points, currently sitting in second to last in the league with 420 points. Thankfully for RSL, either Goals Scored or Goal Differential should take care of most potential tiebreakers, making the Disciplinary Points standings largely irrelevant.