If you are new to watching soccer (association football), you might find it confusing when a regular-season game ends in a tie. After all, fans might be familiar with sports that always have a winner, like in a baseball game. Seeing a game tie might be confusing because the whole point is to win when there is a match.
So, how come some soccer games have a shootout while others end in a tie? Do ties help teams with their match points via the league standings? Have ties always been part of the game in Major League Soccer? Do ties occur in NCAA college soccer games?
Here is the complete guide to why soccer games end in a tie or draw.
What Soccer Games Can End in a Tie?
Since friendly matches don’t count for wins or personal stats, they can end in a tie. Think of a friendly game as a spring training game in baseball where the game does not matter at all. Since these friendly games also allow more substitutions than a regular-season game, player stats don’t count because star players don’t play the entire game, and thus neither does the outcome.
Professional soccer games can also end in a tie during the regular season, which still holds value for teams since tying gives you one match point. The game concludes after 90 minutes because the game isn’t a knockout match during the regular season. That means there does not need to be a winner to move on to the next round.
Soccer Match Point Brief Explanation
Match points help determine the standings for professional soccer clubs. The football club with the most match points is first in the standings. Here is the breakdown of how match points occur during the season.
- Win: 3 Points
- Tie: 1 Point
- Loss: Zero Points
How Do Ties (Draws) Help Soccer Teams During the Regular Season?
A tie in the English Premier League or Major League Soccer gives both teams one point in the rankings. At the end of the season, a team’s match point combines wins and ties. Each win receives three points, while a tie is worth one point.
Tying during a game, especially when playing a difficult appointment, is an achievement. A tie as an away team is also seen as a success, especially if the away team plays in a challenging environment due to the fan’s atmosphere or opponent.
Tying Means Both Squads Were Even During a Match
A tie in professional soccer leagues is also a sign of respect between the two squads. Since both units play two 45 minute periods that require lots of running around the pitch, tying a game promotes good sportsmanship at the end of the match. A tie game at the end illustrates that both teams were equal, and they shouldn’t keep playing because they were on the same level that day.
Usually, you will see players shake each other’s hands or give hugs to the opposing team after a game.
Tying is Good for the Fans via Mutual Respect
Soccer matches that end in a tie are also good for the fans. While everyone wants to see their squad win a game, tying creates a sense of mutual respect between fans of different teams. Mutual respect between fans at a game is essential during competition.
Keeps Players Healthy from Unnecessary Play Time
A soccer match is grueling due to running around constantly during a game. With tackles, collisions, and bruises during a game, not playing extra time during the regular season keeps players fresh for the next game. Since regular-season games don’t need a winner, each team gets one point for a tie and moves on to the next game on the schedule.
The MLS Experiment of a Shootout to Always Determine a Winner
Back in the 90s, when MLS began, they had a shootout to determine a winner. The thought was that American audiences would not accept a tie game, so the league built a shootout rule unlike anything association football fans had in their league.
The penalty shootout would have the player start from the 35-yard line and have a few seconds to shoot the ball against the goalkeeper to score. After 1999, MLS got rid of that rule altogether since it was alienating soccer fans since it felt gimmicky.
MLS uses what other professional leagues use as a tie system worth one point today.
What Do They Call a Tie in Soccer in England?
In England and other places worldwide, they call a tie in soccer a draw.
What Games Don’t End in a Tie?
A winner needs to occur if a soccer game is in the playoffs, like the MLS Cup playoffs. If, after 90 minutes of the game is in a tie, then extra time occurs.
Extra time is two 15-minute halves that both teams play in full to determine a winner. The first team who scores during extra time does not win automatically since both teams need to play the full 30 minutes of extra time.
When Do the Penalty Kicks Occur to Determine a Winner?
In the MLS Cup 2021, the game ended on a penalty kick, also known as sudden death. NYCFC and Portland Timbers were tied after 90 minutes and stayed that way through extra time. To help determine a winner in this scenario, both teams go into a best of five penalty kick to determine which team wins, which became NYCFC.
The soccer penalty kick tournament is between one kicker and one goalie to determine the winner via each round.
Can Ties Occur in the UEFA Champions League?
Like in the UEFA Champions League, club tournaments use an aggregate scoring process to determine a winner. The UEFA Champions League tournament is two games, so there is a good chance that the teams can split one win from each other. If that is the case, an aggregate scoring result occurs to break the tiebreaker and allow one group to move to the next round.
Can the FIFA World Cup Have Ties?
During the group stage of the World Cup, there can be ties. However, once the FIFA World Cup moves into the knockout stage, there needs to be a winner. During the knockout stage, it works with extra time and then a penalty shootout if there still is a tie during a game.
Do Ties Occur in NCAA Soccer Games?
NCAA soccer games go into an overtime period if the game is in a tie after 90 minutes of action. The golden goal rule makes NCAA soccer games different from professional games and declares a winning team based on who scores first. The golden goal rule differs from professional soccer games where the full 30 minutes of extra time need to conclude before a winner is declared, even if a team scores first.
Conclusion: Why Do Soccer Games (Association Football) End in a Tie (Draw)
In summary, professional soccer matches end in a tie for a few reasons. First, soccer leagues use a match point system that sums up wins and ties for each team to determine the best squad that year. Tying gives each team one point, which goes into their tally for match points.
Second, tying is a way to keep players healthy by not playing unnecessary extra time. Since regular-season games don’t need a winner, the league doesn’t want players to hurt themselves in playing longer than 90 minutes. In addition to keeping players healthy, tying during a game helps promote mutual respect between fans at the match.
Soccer (association football) matches don’t tie during a knockout game. During the MLS Cup playoffs, a knockout round needs a winner to move to the next game or have a winner. There won’t be a tie during these knockout stages when soccer games occur, which is when you will see things like a penalty kick shootout.