Wednesday, February 15, 2006

MLS rule changes for 2006

MLS has announced three rule changes for the upcoming season. The MLS Competition Committee approved these new rules. Here are the three new rules:

- The team with the most overall points at the end of the regular season (i.e. the winner of the Supporters Shield) will now go to the CONCACAF Champions' Cup along with the winner of the MLS Cup. Previously the two teams why played in the MLS Cup got the invitations.

- Home and away teams will now have the same number of players available on their game day rosters. Each side will be allowed to have up to seven players available for substitutions, thus the roster number can be 18. Previously, home teams were allowed nine possible subs, while the visitors were allowed five.

- Caution points are now history. Players will be issued suspensions based on the number of yellow cards issued. Players who collect five yellow cards will be suspended for one game. A player who receives three additional yellow cards will be issued an additional one-game suspension. Players issued another three yellow cards, for 11 overall, will receive a third suspension. The old system allotted a certain number of points per card or type of offense and allowed for "good behavior" point reduction.

These three rules make a lot of sense. The first rule seems to go in the direction Bruce Arena was pointing, by making regular season games worth more. By the way, I'm guessing that if the winner of the cup and the shield are the same team, the cup runner-up will get the second spot. The second rule just makes things even, while the final rule clears up a confusing system that was open to manipulation.

By the way, along with the three changes, MLS also formed a technical committee made up of MLS coaches, managers, and former players. The committee was created to provide input to the league's competition committee.


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