2012 Major League Soccer season
|MLS Cup||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Supporters' Shield||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Champions League (U.S.)||San Jose Earthquakes
Los Angeles Galaxy
Sporting Kansas City (via U.S. Open Cup)
|Champions League (Canada)||Toronto FC (via Canadian Championship)|
|Goals scored||854 (2.64 per match)|
|Top goalscorer||Chris Wondolowski
|Biggest home win||SJ 5–0 RSL
DAL 5–0 POR
|Biggest away win||CHV 0–4 LA
CHV 2–6 SEA
CHV 0-4 RSL
|Highest scoring||8 goals:
SJ 5–3 DC
POR 3–5 LA
CHV 2–6 SEA
|Longest winning run||7 matches:
(March 10 – April 18)
|Longest unbeaten run||11 matches:
(August 4 – October 24)
|Longest winless run||14 matches:
(July 28 – October 28)
|Longest losing run||9 matches:
(March 17 – May 19)
POR @ SEA
COL @ NE
The 2012 Major League Soccer season was the 100th season of FIFA-sanctioned soccer in the United States and Canada, the 34th with a national first-division league, and the 17th season of Major League Soccer.
The regular season began on March 10, when the Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated the expansion team Montreal Impact 2–0 at BC Place, and concluded with the host Los Angeles Galaxy defeating the Seattle Sounders FC 1–0 on October 28 at The Home Depot Center. The season also featured the 2012 MLS All-Star Game on July 28, when MLS All-Stars defeated the Chelsea 3–2 at PPL Park (hosted by the Philadelphia Union). The 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs ran from October 31 until December 1, when the Los Angeles Galaxy claimed their fourth MLS championship by defeating Houston Dynamo 3–1 in MLS Cup 2012 at Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
- 1 Changes from 2011
- 2 Teams, stadiums, and personnel
- 3 Regular season standings
- 4 Playoff bracket
- 5 Statistical leaders
- 6 Individual awards
- 7 Related competitions
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
Changes from 2011
The 2012 MLS season features several significant on- and off-field changes from 2011:
- The Montreal Impact became the 19th MLS franchise, replacing a same-named Montreal club that previously played in the North American Soccer League in 2011 and in the USL First Division before that. The Impact made their on-field debut on March 10 in a 2–0 loss at Vancouver. The Impact's home debut, a 1–1 draw with the Chicago Fire on March 17, attracted 58,912 to Olympic Stadium, setting the all-time record crowd for professional soccer in Montreal. A 1–1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 12 attracted 60,860, setting the all-time attendance record for professional soccer in Canada.
- The Impact joined MLS as the 10th team in the Eastern Conference; the Western Conference remains at 9 teams.
- Each of the 19 teams plays a 34-game regular season schedule, one that employs a new unbalanced format that gives greater emphasis on in-conference matchups.
- Western Conference clubs will play each conference rival three times, and play once against each Eastern Conference club.
- Eastern Conference clubs will play seven of their conference rivals three times, the remaining two conference rivals twice, and each Western Conference club once.
- The span of the regular season will be the longest in MLS history, beginning with 5 matches on March 10 and ending with 3 matches on October 28.
- A change to the Designated Player Rule regarding international players took effect with the start of the 2012 season. The salary cap charge for international designated players (i.e., players not from the U.S. or Canada) will depend on the players' ages:
- The league gained a new U.S. TV partner in NBC Sports, whose 3-year deal was announced in August 2011 (replacing expired deals with Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes) and began on March 11 with a NBC Sports Network broadcast of the New York Red Bulls/FC Dallas match. As part of the deal, NBC Sports Network will air 38 regular season and 3 playoff matches, while the main NBC network will air 3 regular season and 2 playoff matches (the first time since 2002 that that many MLS games will be broadcast on English-language network television). NBC and NBCSN will also air United States men's national soccer team matches (2 on each network). Previous deals with U.S. partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and Galavisión continue in 2012, as do deals with Canadian partners TSN, TSN2, and GolTV.
- The MLS Cup Playoffs setup will undergo several changes, as will the Championship Game, which will be played on its latest date ever, December 1. (see MLS Cup below)
Teams, stadiums, and personnel
Stadiums and locations
|Chicago Fire||Chivas USA/||Colorado Rapids||Columbus Crew||D.C. United||FC Dallas|
|Toyota Park||The Home Depot Center||Dick's Sporting Goods Park||Crew Stadium||RFK Memorial Stadium||FC Dallas Stadium|
|Capacity: 20,000||Capacity: 27,000||Capacity: 19,680||Capacity: 20,145||Capacity: 19,467||Capacity: 21,193|
|Houston Dynamo||Montreal Impact||New England Revolution||New York Red Bulls||Philadelphia Union||Portland Timbers|
|BBVA Compass Stadium||Saputo Stadium[a]||Gillette Stadium||Red Bull Arena||PPL Park||Jeld-Wen Field|
|Capacity: 22,000||Capacity: 20,801||Capacity: 22,385||Capacity: 25,189||Capacity: 18,500||Capacity: 20,323|
|Real Salt Lake||San Jose Earthquakes||Seattle Sounders FC||Sporting Kansas City||Toronto FC||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Rio Tinto Stadium||Buck Shaw Stadium||CenturyLink Field||Livestrong Sporting Park||BMO Field||BC Place|
|Capacity: 20,213||Capacity: 10,525||Capacity: 38,500||Capacity: 18,467||Capacity: 21,859||Capacity: 21,000|
Personnel and sponsorship
Five MLS teams saw changes in jersey sponsorship for the 2012 season:
- Bank of Montreal became the first shirt sponsor for the Montreal Impact.
- The Chicago Fire, who went without a jersey sponsor in 2011, gained one in Quaker Oats Company.
- The Columbus Crew, who also did not have a 2011 jersey sponsor, gained sponsorship from Barbasol.
- Amway Global declined to renew its sponsorship of the San Jose Earthquakes, which has yet to find a replacement.
- On June 27, it was announced that AdvoCare had reached an agreement with FC Dallas to become the first shirt sponsor in club history.
Note: All teams use Adidas as kit manufacturer.
Major League Soccer employs no fewer than 12 methods to acquire players. These include: signing players on transfers/free transfers as is done in most of the world; via trades; drafting players through mechanisms such as the MLS SuperDraft, MLS Supplemental Draft, or MLS Re-Entry Draft; rarely used methods which cover extreme hardship and injury replacement; signing players as Designated Players or Homegrown Players; placing a discovery claim on players; waivers; and methods peculiar to MLS such as through allocation or a weighted lottery.
The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee. The allocation rankings may also be used in the event two or more clubs file a request for the same player on the same day. The allocations will be ranked in reverse order of finish for the 2011 season, taking playoff performance into account.
Once the club uses its allocation ranking to acquire a player, it drops to the bottom of the list. A ranking can be traded, provided that part of the compensation received in return is another club’s ranking. At all times, each club is assigned one ranking. The rankings reset at the end of each MLS League season.
|Original Ranking||Club||Date Allocation Used||Player Signed||Player Nation||Previous Club||Club Nation||Ref|
|1||Montreal Impact||February 17, 2012||Eddie Johnson||United States||Fulham||England|||
|2||Philadelphia Union||June 26, 2012||Bakary Soumaré||Mali||US Boulogne||France|||
|3||New England Revolution||August 27, 2012||Juan Toja||Colombia||Aris||Greece|||
|4||Seattle Sounders FC∞||September 14, 2012||Marcus Hahnemann||United States||Everton||England|||
|6||San Jose Earthquakes|
|11||Colorado Rapids||March 28, 2012||Kamani Hill||United States||Vitória||Portugal|||
|13||New York Red Bulls||August 8, 2012||Luis Robles||United States||Karlsruher SC||Germany|||
Vancouver originally had the No. 2 ranking, but traded it to Philadelphia on June 26.
∞Toronto originally had the No. 4 ranking, but traded it to Seattle on September 14.
The remaining order after FC Dallas is: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (from Philadelphia), Toronto FC (from Seattle), Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy. In the unlikely event that all clubs use an allocation, the order begins anew with Montreal Impact, Colorado Rapids, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders FC.
Some players are assigned to MLS teams via a weighted lottery process. A team can only acquire one player per year through a weighted lottery. The players made available through lotteries include: (i) Generation adidas players signed after the MLS SuperDraft; and (ii) Draft eligible players to whom an MLS contract was offered but who failed to sign with the League prior to the SuperDraft.
The team with the worst record over its last 30 regular season games (dating back to previous season if necessary and taking playoff performance into account) will have the greatest probability of winning the lottery. Teams are not required to participate in a lottery. Players are assigned via the lottery system in order to prevent a player from potentially influencing his destination club with a strategic holdout.
The results of 2012 weighted lotteries thus far:
|Lottery Date||Player||Player Nation||Position||Winning Club||Other Clubs Participating||Ref|
|December 15, 2011||Lee Nguyen||USA||MF||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Toronto FC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles Galaxy|||
|September 13, 2012||Marcus Tracy||USA||FW||San Jose Earthquakes||New England Revolution, FC Dallas, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders FC|
|Club||New owner||Previous owner||Date|
|DC United||Erick Thohir and Jason Levien||D.C. United Holdings||July 10, 2012|
Regular season standings
|1||Sporting Kansas City (E1)||63||34||18||7||9||42||27||+15||2012 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals|
|3||New York Red Bulls||57||34||16||9||9||57||46||+11|
|4||Chicago Fire||57||34||17||11||6||46||41||+5||2012 MLS Cup Knockout Round|
|9||New England Revolution||35||34||9||17||8||39||44||−5|
Updated to matches played on 18:04 EDT October 28, 2012
(E1) = Eastern Conference champion; (E2) = Eastern Conference runner-up; (E3) = Eastern Conference third seed; (WC) = Qualifies for playoffs via wild-card.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, but not yet to the particular round indicated; (E) = Eliminated from playoff contention.
|1||San Jose Earthquakes (SS) (W1)||66||34||19||6||9||72||43||+29||2012 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals|
|2||Real Salt Lake||57||34||17||11||6||46||35||+11|
|3||Seattle Sounders FC||56||34||15||8||11||51||33||+18|
|4||Los Angeles Galaxy||54||34||16||12||6||59||47||+12||2012 MLS Cup Knockout Round|
|5||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||43||34||11||13||10||35||41||−6|
Updated to matches played on October 28, 2012
(W1) = Western Conference champion; (W2) = Western Conference runner-up; (W3) = Western Conference third seed; (WC) = Qualifies for playoffs via wild-card.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, but not yet to the particular round indicated; (E) = Eliminated from playoff contention.
Note: the table below has no impact on playoff qualification and is used solely for determining host of the MLS Cup, certain CCL spots, seeding in the 2013 Canadian Championship, and 2013 MLS draft. The conference tables are the sole determinant for teams qualifying for the playoffs.
|1||San Jose Earthquakes (SS)||66||34||19||6||9||72||43||+29||Supporters' Shield & 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League 1|
|2||Sporting Kansas City||63||34||18||7||9||42||27||+15|
|4||New York Red Bulls||57||34||16||9||9||57||46||+11|
|5||Real Salt Lake||57||34||17||11||6||46||35||+11|
|7||Seattle Sounders FC||56||34||15||8||11||51||33||+18|
|8||Los Angeles Galaxy||54||34||16||12||6||59||47||+12|
|11||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||43||34||11||13||10||35||41||−6|
|16||New England Revolution||35||34||9||17||8||39||44||−5|
Updated to games played on October 28, 2012
(SS) = MLS Supporters' Shield
1The highest ranked U.S.-based MLS club qualifies to the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League (placed in Pot A). The other U.S. representatives in the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League are:
- Winner of the 2012 MLS Cup (Pot A)
- Runner-up of the 2012 MLS Cup (Pot B)
- Winner of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (Pot B)
When two or more teams are tied in standings on points the following tiebreak rules apply:
- Goals for
- Goal differential
- Fewest disciplinary points in the official points table (foul - 1 pt, first yellow - 3 pts, second yellow - 5 pts, straight red - 6 pts, disciplinary commission suspension - 6 pts, etc.)
- Road goals
- Road goal differential
- Coin toss (2 teams) or drawing of lots (3 or more teams)
|East Wild Card|
|West Wild Card|
|W4||Los Angeles Galaxy||2|
|W5||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||1|
|Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||MLS Cup 2012|
|E1||Sporting Kansas City||0||1|
|E3||New York Red Bulls||1||0|
|W4||Los Angeles Galaxy||3|
|W1||San Jose Earthquakes||1||1|
|W4||Los Angeles Galaxy||0||3|
|W4||Los Angeles Galaxy||3||1|
|W3||Seattle Sounders FC||0||2|
|W2||Real Salt Lake||0||0|
|W3||Seattle Sounders FC||0||1|
- Full article: MLS Golden Boot
(Minimum of 1,500 minutes played)
|1||Michael Gspurning||AUT||Seattle Sounders FC||0.70||63||15||1935||22||9|
|2||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City||0.79||77||27||3060||34||15|
|3||Bill Hamid||USA||D.C. United||1.03||90||25||2177||25||8|
|Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake||1.03||88||33||2880||32||13|
|5||Tally Hall||USA||Houston Dynamo||1.19||88||39||2946||33||12|
|6||Sean Johnson||USA||Chicago Fire||1.24||108||38||2766||31||5|
|7||Andy Gruenebaum||USA||Columbus Crew||1.26||124||41||2920||33||8|
|8||Josh Saunders||PRI||Los Angeles Galaxy||1.33||80||36||2430||27||9|
|9||Joe Cannon||USA||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||1.34||73||34||2277||26||8|
|Zac MacMath||USA||Philadelphia Union||1.34||93||43||2880||32||8|
|Month||MLS Player of the Month|
|March||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||5G 3A|
|April||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||4G 2A|
|May||Dwayne De Rosario||CAN||D.C. United||4G 3A|
|June||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||3G 0A|
|July||Robbie Keane||IRL||Los Angeles Galaxy||5G 4A|
|August||Patrice Bernier||CAN||Montreal Impact||3G 3A|
|September||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||4G 2A|
|October||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||5G 0A|
|Week||Player of the Week||AT&T Goal of the Week||MLS Save of the Week|
|Week 1||Kalif Alhassan||GHA||Portland Timbers||Kris Boyd||SCO||Portland Timbers||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 2||David Estrada||USA||Seattle Sounders FC||Ryan Johnson||JAM||Toronto FC||Joe Cannon||USA||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Week 3||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||Joe Cannon||USA||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Week 4||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||Darlington Nagbe||LBR||Portland Timbers||Paolo Tornaghi||ITA||Chicago Fire|
|Week 5||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||Álvaro Saborío||CRC||Real Salt Lake||Donovan Ricketts||JAM||Montreal Impact|
|Week 6||Dan Kennedy||USA||Chivas USA||David Beckham||ENG||Los Angeles Galaxy||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 7||Chris Pontius||USA||D.C. United||Kyle Beckerman||USA||Real Salt Lake||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 8||Steven Lenhart||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||Marco Pappa||GUA||Chicago Fire||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 9||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||Fredy Montero||COL||Seattle Sounders FC||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 10||Lee Nguyen||USA||New England Revolution||David Beckham||ENG||Los Angeles Galaxy||Sean Johnson||USA||Chicago Fire|
|Week 11||Dwayne De Rosario||CAN||D.C. United||Fredy Montero||COL||Seattle Sounders FC||Andy Gruenebaum||USA||Columbus Crew|
|Week 12||Emilio Rentería||VEN||Columbus Crew||C. J. Sapong||USA||Sporting Kansas City||Troy Perkins||USA||Portland Timbers|
|Week 13–15||Patrice Bernier||CAN||Montreal Impact||Júlio César||BRA||Sporting Kansas City||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 16||Landon Donovan||USA||Los Angeles Galaxy||Patrick Ianni||USA||Seattle Sounders FC||Jason Hernandez||USA||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Week 17||Danny Koevermans||NED||Toronto FC||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||Josh Saunders||PUR||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Week 18||Álvaro Saborío||CRC||Real Salt Lake||Jack McInerney||USA||Philadelphia Union||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 19||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||David Beckham||ENG||Los Angeles Galaxy||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 20||Calen Carr||USA||Houston Dynamo||Jose Villarreal||USA||Los Angeles Galaxy||Matt Reis||USA||New England Revolution|
|Week 21||Jairo Arrieta||CRC||Columbus Crew||Saër Sène||FRA||New England Revolution||Sean Johnson||USA||Chicago Fire|
|Week 22||Eddie Johnson||USA||Seattle Sounders FC||Felipe Martins||BRA||Montreal Impact||Kevin Hartman||USA||FC Dallas|
|Week 23||Landon Donovan||USA||Los Angeles Galaxy||Sanna Nyassi||GAM||Montreal Impact||Troy Perkins||USA||Montreal Impact|
|Week 24||David Ferreira||COL||FC Dallas||Lamar Neagle||USA||Montreal Impact||Donovan Ricketts||JAM||Portland Timbers|
|Week 25||Federico Higuaín||ARG||Columbus Crew||Marco Di Vaio||ITA||Montreal Impact||Steven Smith||SCO||Portland Timbers|
|Week 26||Federico Higuaín||ARG||Columbus Crew||David Beckham||ENG||Los Angeles Galaxy||Matt Pickens||USA||Colorado Rapids|
|Week 27||Eddie Johnson||USA||Seattle Sounders FC||Eddie Johnson||USA||Seattle Sounders FC||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 28||Sean Johnson||USA||Chicago Fire||Fredy Montero||COL||Seattle Sounders FC||Marcelo Sarvas||BRA||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Week 29||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||Javier Morales||ARG||Real Salt Lake||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 30||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||Álvaro Saborío||CRC||Real Salt Lake||Nick Rimando||USA||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 31||Thierry Henry||FRA||New York Red Bulls||Robbie Keane||IRE||Los Angeles Galaxy||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 32||Chris Wondolowski||USA||San Jose Earthquakes||Jack Jewsbury||USA||Portland Timbers||Jimmy Nielsen||DEN||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 33||Brad Evans||USA||Seattle Sounders FC||Jacob Peterson||USA||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 34||Kenny Cooper||USA||New York Red Bulls|
- First goal of the season: Sébastien Le Toux for Vancouver Whitecaps FC against Montreal Impact, 3 minutes 1 second (March 10, 2012)
- Hat-tricks of the season:
- David Estrada for Seattle Sounders FC against Toronto FC (March 17, 2012)
- Thierry Henry for New York Red Bulls against Montreal Impact (March 31, 2012)
- Chris Pontius for D.C. United against New York Red Bulls (April 22, 2012)
- Álvaro Saborío for Real Salt Lake against Portland Timbers (July 7, 2012)
- Chris Wondolowski for San Jose Earthquakes against Real Salt Lake (July 14, 2012)
- Fredy Montero for Seattle Sounders FC against Chivas USA (August 25, 2012)
- Álvaro Saborío for Real Salt Lake against Chivas USA (September 29, 2012)
- Chris Wondolowski for San Jose Earthquakes against Colorado Rapids (October 6, 2012)
- Fastest hat-trick of the season:
- First yellow card of the season: Milovan Mirošević for Columbus Crew against Colorado Rapids, 40 minutes (March 10, 2012)
- First red card of the season: Stephen McCarthy for New England Revolution against Sporting Kansas City, 14 minutes (March 17, 2012)
International competitions and friendlies
CONCACAF Champions League
Prior to the start of the MLS regular season, Toronto FC defeated Los Angeles Galaxy while Mexican side Santos Laguna defeated Seattle Sounders FC in two of the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series. Toronto FC then lost 3–7 on aggregate in the semifinal with Santos Laguna.
In the 2012–13 CCL, Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake earned group stage spots (the preliminary round has been eliminated). The Canadian representative, determined by the 2012 Canadian Championship, was Toronto FC.
At the end of the groups stages, the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, and Houston Dynamo qualified for the quarterfinals, which will be played in March 2013.
MLS All-Star Game
The 2012 MLS All-Star Game was played on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, home stadium of the Philadelphia Union. As has been the format every year since 2005, the MLS All-Stars played an international club; the 2012 opponent was England's Chelsea FC, 2012 champions of both the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League and visiting side in the 2006 MLS All-Star Game (when they lost to the All-Stars, 1–0, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois). The MLS All-Stars won the game 3–2.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
For the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament, U.S. Soccer has increased the size of the main tournament from 40 to 64 clubs, assembling the competition so that all U.S.-based Major League Soccer clubs gain entry. On August 8, 2012, Sporting Kansas City defeated the Seattle Sounders on penalties to win the franchise's second open cup title.
The three Canadian-based MLS clubs, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, along with NASL club FC Edmonton, competed for the Voyageurs Cup, Canada's national championship trophy. The tournament is organized in a knockout format with two-legged ties in both the semifinals and final, with the away goals rule in place. Toronto defeated Vancouver in the finals, their fourth consecutive national championship, and qualified for the 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League.
The MLS Cup playoffs took place after the conclusion of the regular season. For 2012, the playoff structure underwent several changes:
- The playoffs will no longer feature wild cards and the possibility of "crossovers" (i.e. teams from opposite conferences playing in the early rounds). Instead, the top five clubs in each conference's standings will qualify for the playoffs and will play in the following manner:
- The 4th place team will host the 5th place team in a single "play-in" match, with the winner advancing to the conference semifinals.
- The Conference Semifinals will again be a two-game aggregate goal setup as before (with extra time and penalty kicks employed if the aggregate is level after 180 minutes). The 1st place team will play the winner of the 4th/5th game, while the 2nd and 3rd place teams play each other. The lower-seeded team will host the first leg of each semifinal.
- The semifinal winners will play each other in the Conference Finals, which will be altered to a two-game aggregate series patterned after the semifinal round (before this year, this round was a single-game format).
- The Conference Final winners will advance to the MLS Cup Championship Game, which for the first time will be played at the home stadium of the finalist with the better regular season point total; before this season, the game was played at a predetermined site.
- "2012 MLS Standings & Leaders". October 29, 2012.
- "MLS announces changes for 2012 season," from The Score, November 20, 2011
- "Impact draws 1–1 with Chicago Fire..." from ImpactMontreal.com, March 17, 2012
- "Report: Impact ties LA Galaxy 1–1 in front of 60,860 spectators at Olympic Stadium". Montreal Impact. May 12, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "MLS will have unbalanced schedule in 2012," from The Score, 11/10/2011
- "MLS releases 2012 schedule; Cup final Dec. 1," from The Score, 1/5/2012
- MLSSoccer.com. "2012 MLS Roster Rules". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- "MLS, NBC announce three-year broadcast deal," from MLSSoccer.com, 8/10/2011
- "NBC networks to air 41 regular-season matches in 2012," from MLSsoccer.com, 1/5/2012
- "Impact beats Seattle Sounders 4–1 in Stade Saputo home opener," from ImpactMontreal.com, June 16, 2012
- "The Montreal Impact unveils its schedule for the 2012 season," from ImpactMontreal.com, posted 1/5/2012
- "BMO to become Impact's lead MLS sponsor". Sportsnet. June 14, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- "Feeling their oats: Fire get jersey sponsorship deal with Quaker," from Chicago Tribune, January 17, 2012
- McCarthy, Jack (February 15, 2012). "Crew partner with Barbasol as new jersey sponsor". MLS. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- "FC Dallas signs multi-year, multi-million dollar jersey deal with AdvoCare". June 27, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "2012 MLS Roster Rules | Major League Soccer". Mlssoccer.com. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "Montreal send Johnson to Seattle for Neagle, Fucito". MLSsoccer.com. February 17, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "Union sign central defender Bakary Soumare". philadelphiaunion.com. June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- "Revolution acquire former All-Star Juan Toja via allocation". MLSsoccer.com. August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Freedman, Jonah (September 14, 2012). "Hahnemann returns to MLS, lands with hometown Seattle". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "Rapids sign forward Kamani Hill". coloradorapids.com. March 28, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- "Red Bulls Acquire Goalkeeper Luis Robles". newyorkredbulls.com. August 8, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- "Whitecaps get US international Nguyen in weighted lottery". MLSsoccer.com. December 15, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "Competition Rules and Regulations". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- "MLS Cup Playoffs 2012". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
- "Major League Soccer Statistics".
- "Major League Soccer Statistics".
- "Major League Soccer Statistics".
- "CONCACAF unveils 2011/12 Champions League quarterfinal schedule". CONCACAF.com. November 15, 2011.
- "All-Star Game: Chelsea return for grudge match at PPL," from MLSsoccer.com, 4/11/2012
- "Source: 2012 US Open Cup format proposal calls for 64 teams..." from TheCup.us, 11/9/2011[not in citation given]
- "Sporting Kansas City Claims 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup After Penalty Shootout Victory Against Three-Time Defending Champion Seattle Sounders FC " from ussoccer.com, 8/9/2012