As part of an initiative to encourage attacking play and because the league’s schedule is no longer balanced, Major League Soccer has instituted new tiebreakers to determine the five playoff qualifiers in each conference. First on the list, ahead of goal differential, fair play and anything else that makes sense (but not head-to-head, because the schedule is unbalanced, remember) is goals scored. C’mon MLS teams, throw everyone forward, defense be damned. Your playoff hopes might depend on it.
Good for MLS. The American league has long been the home of overly conservative coaches who play or the 1-0 win to the detriment of the soccer on display. A “goals for” tiebreaker is one way to kick them in the ass and get them to pull off one of the 7 defensive midfielders they have in the game.
Why the league decided to drop this information on its fans two-thirds of the way through the regular season (the release say the Board of Governors approved the changes “earlier this year”) is anyone’s guess. If the changes were approved before, it would make sense to tell everyone when they were approved. Unless “earlier this year” means “yesterday”, in which case MLS is trying to snow the fan base just a little. You can’t go changing the rules of the competition after 66% of the games have been played.
Really, MLS. If this just happened, shame on you. If it didn’t just happened, it’s awfully hinky that you’re just announcing it now.
Regardless, the change could make for an interesting final couple of weeks of the season. Hopefully, we get a scenario where one or more teams are tied for the last playoff spot, and one or more needs to make up a deficit in the “goals for” column.
“WE’RE GOING TO NEED ALL THE FORWARDS.”