Changes for the 2012 MLS competition format

The Montreal Impact will be joining MLS in 2012 as the leagues 19th team, in fact their expansion draft is later this week. Montreal will be joining the Eastern Conference leaving 10 teams in the East and nine in the West. (MLS should be adding a 20th team soon.)

The biggest change announced: beginning in 2012, the League’s championship will be hosted by the finalist that finished the regular season with the most points in the standings. So home field for the title can be earned.

As a consequence of having 19 teams, all MLS teams will play an unbalanced schedule. Each of the 19 MLS clubs will play 34 games, 17 at home and 17 away.

Western Conference clubs will play each West opponent 3 times (24 games) and each East opponent once each (10 games).

Eastern Conference clubs will play 25 games against other East clubs, 7 conference opponents three times each (21 games) and 2 conference opponents twice each (4 games). Then they will play each West opponent once each (9 games).

10 clubs will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, just as it was this year, but now the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season. After the knock out Wild Card game and the two leg conference semi-finals, the Conference Championships will next year be decided by a two-game, aggregate-goal format.

As for how that all effects FC Dallas... more games against the stronger West, more games against most of the familiar names (Colorado, RSL, LA Galaxy), but less games against Chicago and Houston, the two most hated rivals. That means the Brimstone Cup and El Capatian will, baring a US Open Cup game and other unforeseen circumstances, be decided by one game.