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MLS releases new playoff tiebreakers and salary regulations

Mar 7, 2014, 8:08 PM EST

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With the 2014 season less than 24 hours from kickoff, Major League soccer has released important information regarding rules and regulations.

First and foremost, tiebreaker rules in a number of scenarios have changed slightly.

While each conference’s top 5 teams still qualify for the playoffs (no surprise), tiebreakers for the final spot often come into play.  The league has reversed the 2nd and 3rd tiebreakers.

The lead tiebreaker for a playoff spot remains most wins in the season, but the #2 tiebreaker is now goal differential, swapping places with the now-#3 tiebreaker goals scored.

MLS made a change in the 2-leg playoff series as well.  Seeding of teams will still occur, but if aggregate goals scored is tied following a pair of 90-minute legs at each team’s home field, the MLS playoffs will now follow the away goals tiebreaker.

This, according to the rules release, is to “be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice.”

Many have taken shots at the use of away goals, saying it will diminish the importance of seeding due to a reduction of home field advantage.  There will be no choice given to the higher seed concerning which leg would come first.

You can read the full 2014 competition rules and regulations release here.

Finally, there was the announcement of this year’s salary limits.  The salary cap will balloon to $3.1 million, up from $2.9 million and essentially consistent with the required 5% increase.

In addition, Designated Player contracts will now count $387,500 towards the salary cap, up from $350,000. A Designated Player signed in the middle of the season will count $193,750 towards the salary cap.

You can read the full 2014 salary and roster regulations here.

  1. mvktr2 - Mar 8, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    BOOO on the DP salary hit change.

    I’m okay with everything else. I’m okay with aligning with fifa/concacaf on away goals even though it does reduce home field advantage in some way making it completely meaningless. No matter, you still gotta win the games in front of you on aggregate and that hasn’t changed!

  2. talgrath - Mar 8, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Good to see, the away goals rule helps to change the dynamic, you can’t just go to your opponent’s place and park the bus, you have to go at them; teams playing at home now need to really mind their p’s and q’s on defense at home in the playoffs. The salary increase and DP cost increase are not surprising, but nice to see that salary cap expand.

  3. geojock - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    “be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice.”
    Okay, that’s fine and all, but why did you wait till now? I am okay either way, just lets settle on something!

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