Nota Bene: the MLS rules and regulations change and so will the MLS 101 sections on Mount Royal Soccer. Our goal is to inform you and to keep you up-to-date on these changes. All regulations and rules will obviously affect your Montreal Impact so bookmark this link.
Let's first dive into the 2012 MLS Rules of Competition.
Like most North American major professional league, you will see the classic conference divide but no divisions. As of 2012, there are 19 MLS teams divided in two conferences as so:
Eastern Conference - Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC.
Western Conference - Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
All MLS teams play a total of 34 games in a regular MLS season: 17 home games and 17 away games. Now I hope that you are good in math because it's gets a bit complicated (at least for me) right now
Western Conference - 24 in-conference + 10 out-of-conference games:
· Western Conference teams will play each West opponent three times (24 games):
o West teams will play four conference opponents twice at home and once away
o They will play the other four conference opponents once at home and twice away.
o The home and away games will be reversed in 2013.
· Western Conference teams will play each East opponent once each (10 games):
o Five of these will be at home and five will be away.
o The East opponents each team faces at home and away will be reversed in 2013.
Eastern Conference - 25 in-conference + 9 out-of-conference games:
· Eastern Conference teams will play 25 games against other East teams:
o East teams will play seven conference opponents three times each (21 games) and
o Two conference opponents twice each (four games).
· Eastern Conference teams will play each West opponent once each (9 games):
o Some will play four at home and five away while others will play five at home and four away.
The West opponents each team faces at home and away will be reversed in 2013.
Like in many professional soccer leagues, teams have a game day roster of 18 players for each game with three substitutions per game. The points system is as we know (for the soccer fan): 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points for a loss.
After going through some basics of competitions rules and regulations, what is the Montreal Impact playing for? What is at the end of the rainbow?
There it is, Ladies and Gentlemen, the MLS Cup, also known as Philip F. Anschutz trophy since 2008. How do you seek the Grail, how do you get the precious?
Basically , 10 of out the 19 MLS teams will participate in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs; the top 5 teams in points from each conference. With an odd number of teams making it to the playoffs, the 4th and 5th place teams in each conference will play a single knockout game. The winner of the knockout game will advance to its respective Conference Semifinals and face the first place team in that conference.
From there, you will have 4 Conference Semifinals that will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
The 2 Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
MLS Cup will be a single championship match hosted by the higher seed. If the score is tied after 90 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The big difference between in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs is where the MLS Cup Final is hosted. Before 2012, a host city was assigned the MLS Cup Final '' a la '' NFL but since the final will be held at the home field of the top remaining seed.
You can find all Competition Rules and Regulations on MLS Soccer's website by clicking this link.