NEW YORK — It's all about the goals in MLS. Literally.
The league announced on Wednesday a new wrinkle to its playoff format that will be implemented this season, honoring goals scored as the first tiebreaker when two or more teams are even on points in the standings.
In fact, goals scored currently has the Houston Dynamo (35 goals scored) ahead of Sporting Kansas City (28 goals scored) atop the Eastern Conference, although both clubs are tied on 40 points.
Total goals scored was only the third tiebreaker last season with head-to-head record and goal differential taking precedence. In fact, head-to-head record was the first criteria used to rank teams tied on points in 2011, but it became less relevant with the switch to an unbalanced, conference-based schedule.
The league's Board of Governors approved the following new set of tiebreakers to be used beginning with the current 2012 season "in part to encourage attacking play," according to a league statement:
1) Most total goals scored
2) Greatest goal differential
3) Fewest disciplinary points
4) Most road goals scored
5) Greatest road goal differential
6) Most home goals scored
7) Greatest home goal differential
8) Coin toss (for 2 teams) or drawing of lots (3 or more teams)