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New Tiebreaker Rules Hit Seattle

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In preparing for the Cascadia Cup match this weekend and browsing the MLS Standings page there was a stark reminder of last week's announced change to the tiebreaker rules. Around these parts the change went nearly unmentioned due to a focus on the US Open Cup Final. That's gone and their is a new focus on playoff seeding. With two teams entering a match tied on points facing off and the LA Galaxy also now tied on points the different tiebreakers are highlighted.

Under the 2012 rules the order is LA, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps. Under a rule set that would break ties on goal differential the order is Sounders, Galaxy and Whitecaps. Using the old head-to-head rules the order is again Sounders (2.33 ppm H2H), Galaxy (1.33) and Whitecaps (0.67).

The rule set is what it is. But it's down right confusing that under the systems most common in American sports or other leagues the Sounders are third, but in the system used by MLS this year (and who knows how many more) the Galaxy avoid the play-in round.

Still, to remain tied on points with the LA Galaxy is unlikely. Seattle has three games in hand to play. If the Sounders perform as they have to this point in the season they will earn 5 points and basically catch Real Salt Lake (who has a single game in hand on the Galaxy). The Sounders don't need to change their tactics in order to help themselves in these tie-breakers. Winning games and earning points is still more important than losing 4 to 5.

So who's on third? It doesn't really matter until October 31st.