MLS Rule Changes 2004

Just under two weeks before the new MLS season and HQ just announced some rule changes for 2003. First, overtime is gone to stay in line with recent FIFA mandates that golden goal overtimes can’t be used. This brings league games in line with how they are played in the rest of the world. While certain camps liked overtime and believe American fans don’t like ties, I can’t say I agree. Usually the extra ten minute overtime teams played didn’t resolve the game, and in the last minutes of regular times you could often tell that players were pacing themselves for overtime.

The American mentality of having to have a winner doesn’t really translate well to soccer since its such a low scoring affair anyway. In basketball, and other American sports too, a score of 87-85 determines a winner but you can also read it as the winner was just BARELY better than their opponent. Soccer doesn’t try to be so precise, which is why it can be full of surprise wins and agonzing losses.

Other rule changes include limiting substitutions to 3 total, instead of the abused 3+1 goalie substition rule (aka the Bob-Bradley-Cheats rule), no shirtless goal celebrations (sorry Landon fans), and some more minor changes related to fines and national team call ups.