MLS Supporters Shield Becomes More Meaningful

MLS made a few rule changes this week for the good of the game. The best one, in my opinion, was that the winner of the Supporters Shield -- the team with the best regular season record -- now gets a birth in the CONCACAF Champions Cup (beginning in 2007) alongside the MLS Cup Champion. Previously, the two MLS Cup finalists represented MLS in this competition. Should the regular season champion also win the MLS Cup, the Supporters Shield runner-up (not the losing MLS Cup finalist) will be awarded the second birth. This adds prestige and financial incentive for teams to win the regular season, something that was a bit lacking in previous MLS campaigns. In other rule changes:
  • MLS game day rosters now consist of 18 players (previously 20 home, 16 away)
  • The yellow card points system which awarded points based on severity of caution was eliminated. Suspensions now come after 5, 8, and 11 yellow cards...and then every 2 after that.
  • The league also created a technical committee to examine changes for 2007 and the creation of youth development programs