Competition Rules and Regulations
2013 MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RULES OF COMPETITION
· Teams will be aligned into two conferences as they were in 2012:
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Chicago Fire Chivas USA
Columbus Crew Colorado Rapids
D.C. United FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo LA Galaxy
Sporting Kansas City Portland Timbers
Montreal Impact Real Salt Lake
New England Revolution San Jose Earthquakes
New York Red Bulls Seattle Sounders FC
Philadelphia Union Vancouver Whitecaps FC
· Each of the 19 MLS clubs will play 34 games, 17 at home and 17 away.
Western Conference – 24 in-conference + 10 out-of-conference games:
· Western Conference clubs will play each West opponent 3 times (24 games):
o West clubs will play 4 conference opponents twice at home and once away.
o They will play the other 4 conference opponents once at home and twice away.
o The home and away games are reversed from 2012.
· Western Conference clubs will play each East opponent once each (10 games):
o 5 of these will be at home and 5 will be away.
o The East opponents that each team faces at home and away are reversed from 2012.
Eastern Conference – 25 in-conference + 9 out-of-conference games:
· Eastern Conference clubs will play 25 games against other East clubs:
o East teams will play 7 conference opponents three times each (21 games) and
o 2 conference opponents twice each (4 games); these will not be the same conference opponents they faced twice in 2012.
· Eastern Conference clubs will play each West opponent once each (9 games):
o Some will play 4 at home and 5 away while others will play 5 at home and 4 away.
o The West opponents that each team faces at home and away are reversed from 2012.
POINT SYSTEM: Teams will receive three points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss.
REFEREES: All referees in MLS are either USSF (United States Soccer Federation) or CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) National Referees. Referees for all MLS games will be trained, assigned and evaluated by PRO (Professional Referee Organization).
GAME CLOCK: The official game time for all Major League Soccer games will be managed on the field by the referee. If necessary, the referee may also allot extra time (a.k.a. "stoppage time”) at the end of each period (first half, second half, and if applicable, first overtime period and second overtime period during playoff matches) to allow for injuries, time-wasting or other disturbances.
The stadium clock will display the time from 0:00 to 45:00 and from 45:00 to 90:00. For statistical purposes, the minutes for goals, substitutions, yellow cards, etc., will be listed from the first minute until the 90th minute. A goal scored at 15 minutes 10 seconds will be listed as having been scored in the 16th minute. Events occurring during stoppage time will follow the international norm by being demarcated with a "+" sign and the extra minutes. For example, a goal scored three minutes into first half stoppage time will be officially identified as happening at "48+".
GAME DAY ROSTERS: Each team can nominate 18 players for a game day roster. Teams are allowed three substitutions per game.
CAUTIONS AND SUSPENSIONS: A player will be suspended for one game upon receiving his fifth yellow card – regardless of the nature of the infraction that resulted in his being awarded a yellow card. A second suspension of one game would result after the awarding of an additional three cards, as would a third suspension after the awarding of card number eleven. When one yellow card away from being suspended for caution accumulation, if a player appears in three consecutive games without receiving a yellow card or disciplinary sanction, the player will have one yellow card expunged. A player may take advantage of the “Good Behavior” incentive only once throughout the season.
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: FORMAT
WHO QUALIFIES: Ten teams, the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season, qualify for the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The fourth and fifth place teams in each conference will play a single knockout game, the winner of which will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the first place team in the conference.
The four Conference Semifinals will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
The two Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
MLS Cup will be a single championship match hosted by the finalist with the most regular season points. If the two finalists have the same number of regular season points, the tiebreakers for playoff qualification will be applied to determine the host team.
If the score is tied after 90 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary.
TEAM-STANDINGS TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES
The team awarded the highest position in the MLS standings will be the team with the greatest number of points (three points for a win, one point for a tie, zero points for a loss). In the event that two teams finish the regular season with an equal number of points, the following system will be used to break the tie:
When two or more teams are tied in the standings on points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), the following tiebreakers will be used in the sequence below, until one team ranks ahead of the other(s):
1. Most Wins
2. Goals For (See column labeled GF on www.MLSsoccer.com/standings page)
3. Goal Differential (GD)
4. Fewest Disciplinary Points
5. Road Goals
6. Road Goal Differential
7. Home Goals
8. Home Goal Differential
9. Coin Toss (2 teams) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS:
· 10 clubs will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs – the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season.
o The 4th- and 5th- place teams will play a single knockout game, the winner of which will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the 1st-place team in the conference.
o The Conference Semifinals will be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format.
o The Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format.
o MLS Cup will be hosted by the finalist that finished the regular season with the most points in the standings.