Should MLS have total wins over goal scored as tiebreaker?

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For fans of MLS, dust your rulebook out and add another change to it.

During the 2103 season, the league reminded everyone on Tuesday that a new rule will now be in effect for tiebreakers.

Last season total goals scored was the tiebreaker when two teams were level on points, but now it’s total wins.

And for those eagle-eyed MLS aficionados out there, you would have realized the new “total wins” ruling was how the Seattle Sounders clinched their playoff berth last week.

MLS executive vice president for competition, technical and game operations Nelson Rodriguez fills us in.

“The object of the game is to win, whether at home or on the road,” Rodriguez said. “The competition committee felt it was important to reward those teams who as a collective whole have won more games than their opposing teams.”

So, how did we all feel about this? In most other leagues across the world, the first tiebreaker is goal differential, followed by goals for but obviously MLS is trying to put a slightly different spin on things. And I like it. Rodriguez and the other execs. are correct, why should teams that haven’t won as many games as another side, but have a slightly better goal difference due to hammering some lowly squad be rewarded?

They shouldn’t. I agree that teams who win the most games should be given the edge because if LA keep beating Chivas USA 5-0, like they did recently, or other strugglers then that’s not much of an achievement if they keep drawing with Real Salt Lake or Seattle and other teams at the top of the league. Goals for and goal differnetial favors the bigger teams who can turn on the style and are loaded offensively, so even if they settle for ties against compeitors and pummel the lesser sides, they will gain an advantage,

Listing “total wins” is something I really enjoy about MLS, and the forthright way in which to promote attacking, open soccer across the league should be applauded. The powers that be got this one right, and how often do you hear anybody saying that sincerely?

For a full list of tiebreakers going into the final weekend, Simon Borg from MLSsoccer.com gives us the details:

1. Most Wins
2. Goals For
3. Goal Differential
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)