In the event a match is abandoned at any point prior to its conclusion, it will be postponed, rather than cancelled and/or final. In the event the match is postponed at any point, any remaining time will be completed the following day or as soon as practical.
Match Postponement Post Roster Exchange and Prior To Commencement
In cases where a match is postponed prior to kickoff, but after the Official Match Roster exchange, clubs will be permitted to change their roster regardless of whether the rescheduled match occurs on a date prior to or after the next match in either Clubs’ schedule.
The match must restart on the same spot where the postponed match action occurred (i.e. free-kick, throw-in, goal kick, corner kick, penalty, etc.). If the match was stopped during the normal flow of the game, a dropped ball on the spot where it was postponed shall be used to restart.
- The match will recommence with the same players on the field and substitutes available as when the match was initially postponed. For example, if a player receives a red card and reduces his Club to 10 players on the field before the match is postponed, his Club cannot replace him and will resume the postponed match with 10 players.
- The Club’s Official Game Rosters are frozen on the match recommencement day, subject to the exceptions below.
- No additional substitutes may be added to the list of players on the Official Game Roster.
- The teams can make only the number of substitutions to which they were still entitled when the match was postponed (except as provided below and in the case of a subsequent injury and/or unavailability).
Injured or Unavailable Players
Any player in-play at the time the match was postponed who is subsequently injured or unavailable due to a trade, loan or transfer before the resumption of the match and cannot participate can only be replaced by a substitute on the Official Game Roster of the postponed match (subject to the goalkeeper exceptions below). Such substitute will NOT count against a team’s normally allotted substitutions.
- If the starting goalkeeper from the postponed match is unavailable (as defined above) for the match recommencement, the backup goalkeeper from the postponed Official Game Roster is inserted into the match without using a substitution. An additional goalkeeper can be added to the substitutes’ bench from the team’s eligible active roster as of the day of the original match.
- If the backup goalkeeper from the postponed match is unavailable (as defined above), an additional goalkeeper can be added to the substitutes’ bench from the team’s active roster as of the day of the original match.
- If the starting goalkeeper is subbed out of the match prior to postponement and is replaced by the backup goalkeeper, the team must complete the recommenced match with only the backup goalkeeper. No allowances will be made to add an additional goalkeeper to the Official Game Roster as a substitute.
- If the backup goalkeeper is substituted into the postponed match for the starting goalkeeper and the backup becomes unavailable (as defined above) for the recommenced match, a goalkeeper from the active roster as of the day of the postponed match can be inserted into the match without using a substitution. The starting goalkeeper who was substituted out of the postponed match is not eligible.
Match Discipline – Prior To Match Commencement
In the event a match is postponed prior to it being commenced and is scheduled for a later date, then the normal disciplinary guidelines with respect to yellow cards, red cards, supplemental discipline and player eligibility shall apply. That is, the non-commenced postponed match shall be treated as if the rescheduled date was the original date of the match (e.g. any player eligible to participate on the rescheduled date will be eligible).
In cases where a rescheduled postponed match occurs after the Club has a subsequent match(es), all suspensions will be served in the subsequent match(es), not the postponed and rescheduled match.
However, if a player or coach is issued a red card or dismissed prior to commencement on the original match day, a two-match suspension will carry forward to both a) their next match and, b) the rescheduled match.
Additionally, if a player or coach is issued a yellow card prior to the commencement of a match on match day, the yellow card will remain aligned with that match regardless of when it is played.
However, if that yellow card triggers the Yellow Card Accumulation Policy suspension, the player will be suspended for their next match regardless of whether it is the postponed match or a subsequent match on the schedule. In this case, the yellow card remains connected to the postponed match.
Match Discipline - After Match Commencement
In the event a match is commenced and postponed to a later date prior to its completion then the following shall apply to incidents that took place prior to the match being postponed:
- Any yellow card earned during the postponed match shall immediately count towards a player’s season total.
- If such yellow card triggers the yellow card accumulation threshold, the player shall be suspended for his next MLS game.
- For example, if a player begins the postponed match with four yellow cards in his season accumulation total and receives his fifth yellow card prior to the match being postponed, the player will be suspended for his next MLS game – he will be eligible to play in the recommenced match.
Red Card/Second Yellow Card
- In the event a player is issued a red card during the postponed match, he will be suspended from his next MLS game. He will not be eligible to participate in the recommenced match and the team will not be able to replace the player.
- In the event a player is issued a second yellow card during the postponed match, he will be suspended from his next MLS game. He will not be eligible to participate in the recommenced match and the team will not be able to replace the player. Such yellow card shall not be added to the player’s yellow card accumulation total.
- In the event that a Player is issued his second yellow card during the recommencement of the match, the Player will be dismissed from that match and will serve his suspension in his next MLS match.
- In the event a player receives supplemental discipline from the Disciplinary Committee for an incident that occurred during the postponed match that did not result in a send-off, the player will serve such discipline (e.g. suspension) in his next MLS game(s). The player will, however, be eligible to participate in the recommenced match. This shall not apply to incidents that involve Match Official Abuse or Assault.
Match Discipline – Prior To Recommencement
In the event a match is commenced and postponed to a later date prior to its completion then the following shall apply to incidents that took place prior to the recommencement of the match:
Yellow Card Accumulation/Second Yellow Card/Red Card/Supplemental Discipline
In the event a player is to serve a suspension for yellow card accumulation, a second yellow card, a red card or supplemental discipline from an incident that took place in a match prior to the recommencement of the postponed match, such suspension shall not apply to the recommenced match and the player shall be eligible to participate in such match. This will not apply to instances of Match Official Abuse or Assault in which case the player will not be eligible to participate in the postponed match.
- For example, if a player participated in a postponed match and then receives a red card or supplemental discipline in a match preceding the recommencement of the postponed match, he is eligible to participate in the postponed match and will serve the suspension in the match(es) immediately following the postponed match.
In cases where a Player is suspended prior to a recommenced match for an incident that results in a multiple match suspension (e.g., Violent Conduct), the League/Commissioner’s Office will determine the Player’s eligibility depending upon the egregiousness of the offense. If the player is ultimately suspended by the League/Commissioner's Office, the recommenced match suspension will not count as part of their suspension total.
Players serving suspensions for off field violations, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and/or other egregious offenses, are subject to suspension at the discretion of the Commissioner’s Office. If the Commissioner’s Office upholds the suspension, the player will not be eligible to participate in the recommenced portion of the postponed match.
In such cases where a Player is suspended prior to a recommenced match, the recommenced match WILL NOT count toward the player’s pre-determined match suspension total.
- For example, if a Player is guilty of Match Official Abuse in the match leading up to the recommenced match and is to begin a suspension, the recommenced match will not count as part of the suspension.
In the case of Match Official Abuse or Assault and/or an off-field incident, the policies for replacing an ineligible Player are as follows:
- Starting Player: If the Player deemed ineligible was a starter and currently in the game when the match was postponed, he may be replaced by a Player from the named substitutes list on the team’s Official Match Roster for that match. Such substitute will not count against a Club’s normally allotted substitutions. The resulting vacant substitute Official Match Roster position may not be filled and shall remain vacant for the entirety of the match.
- Substitute Player: If the Player deemed ineligible was a player from the named substitutes list on the team’s Official Match Roster and currently on the substitutes bench when the match was postponed, his vacant Official Match Roster position may not be filled, and the vacant substitute’s slot cannot be replaced.