MLS Announces 2012 Format Changes

Major League Soccer's Board of Governor's has announced some big changes to the playoff format for the 2012 season.  Here are the highlights:

  • The MLS Cup Final will no longer be played at a predetermined neutral site.  The team with the higher regular season point total will now host the Final.
  • The Montral Impact will be the 10th Eastern Conference club.
  • The top five teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs.  There will be no more "mixed" conference post season competition.  The 4th and 5th place teams will face each other in a single elimination first round game with the winner advancing to face the Conference Champion.
  • The Conference finals are now a two leg competition.
  • Changes have also been made to the regular season schedule since there will be 19 teams.  The balanced format is out the window.  In the East, each club will play a total of 25 conference matches.  Each club will play seven of their conference opponents three times and the remaining two conference opponents twice each.  There will be only one match played against teams in the Western Conference.

The release date for the full schedule hasn't been announced yet but a December/January date has been floated out there.  That would really be a big departure from seasons past. 


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  • there is not having a balanced schedule and there is a completely insane schedule. This new format, to me, is really dumb. It looks like they are committed to this for two years as well.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I'd prefer a single table with the top eight making the playoffs myself but I can understand the desire to further develop rivalries and cut down on travel.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Agree on the single table format. Would love to see that in MLS. While I like the fact that they're trying to develop regional rivalries more, it seems like they took the term "unbalanced schedule" and threw it in a blender. The playoff schedule is an improvement, but the regular season setup seems to follow their "if it's not confusing we'll find a way to make it confusing" mantra. Time will tell if it's a good move or not.

  • The clown with the MLS attendance blog post in the Trib last week should read this........

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I have quit trying to show people this awesome game. I will enjoy it till I die, and when they finally find out how awesome soccer is on their dying day, I will laugh at them and say, I knew it all my life. Enjoy it from HELL!!!

    j/k. I know that was harsh, I would never do that. It's just a game lol.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    The MLS Cup Championship attendance in yesterday's game was 30,281.

  • Trib is reporting Fire's protected list as:

    Barouch, Oduro, Nyarko, Pappa, Grazzini, Pardo, Pause, Anibaba, Gibbs, Segares, Johnson.

    I guess my only question is whether it was really necessary to protect Pardo. Would an expansion team grab a 36 year-old who might not even be interested in making the move to their city?

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    That is indeed the list, and I brought that point up during the All-In podcast a few weeks ago.

    The article also incorrectly states that clubs can lose two players. That is not the case. Clubs can only lose one player to Montreal in the expansion draft.

  • Sporting KC trades Ryan Smith (in this case the rights to Smith) to Chivas USA for first and third round draft picks.

    Official announcement for the full lists, as always is a bit late.


    chicago is reported to be interested in Alex the great! Would love for the fire to get Del Piero

  • In reply to lijien:

    I don't see the point in having Del Piero if we have Pardo. The Del Piero to MLS rumors have been swirling for a while, and I think his agent is just trying to get some Gulf sheiks to loosen the purse strings a little bit more. I don't see Hauptmann opening his purse strings as much after the Castillo fiasco and the Ljungberg sojourn.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I don't see Del Piero being a fit for what they're looking for either.

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