Despite originally submitting changes to the tiebreaker rules in January and having them approved in April for use this season, MLS only today officially announced the new rules. Really? What took so long? Why not announce these details in April when they were finalized?
You can read all the gory details here, but I'll give you some highlights if you don't feel like reading a press release. With teams no longer playing a balanced schedule, head-to-head records no longer work as a viable way to break a tie in the standings. So MLS has decided to make Goals For the first tiebreaker, with the idea being that this will encourage more attacking play. Alright, I just hope they told the teams in April and they're not just finding this out now.
Want to guess which teams are 2nd and 3rd in Goals For at the moment? New York and LA. Let the conspiracy theories begin!
Good 'ol goal differential, what virtually every other league uses, is the second tiebreaker and in the unlikely case that teams need a third tiebreaker, things get a little hairy.
In the event that teams are tied on both Goals For and Goal Differential, then the league would use Fewest Disciplinary Points to break the tie. This tiebreaker will likely never be used, but this is MLS and anything is possible. Having tiebreaker determined by a points standing systems based on yellow card, red cards and actions taken by the MLS Disciplinary Committee is completely ridiculous. At least it's not the first tiebreaker.
There are five additional tiebreakers laid out should they ever been needed including (in this order): Road Goals, Road Goal Differential, Home Goals, Home Goal Differential and finally a Coin Toss (2 teams) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)...seriously. Fortunately it would take some seriously extraordinary circumstances to get to that point.
If you're interested in the current Disciplinary Points standings and how the points are earned, you can check out all the details here.