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Unraveling the mystery: where will MLS Cup 2012 land?

Toronto FC v Sporting Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, KS - JUNE 16: A general view during the MLS game between Sporting KC and Toronto FC on June 16, 2012 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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I love the new MLS Cup format that awards host rights to the highest seed standing among the conference winners.

When the regular season serves to eliminate less than half the field – 10 teams make the playoffs, nine do not – then finding more ways to incentivize the regular season is critical. This format goes a long way to achieving that.

So, where will MLS Cup 2012 land?

The easiest way to start unraveling that question is to look at the combined table. That makes it simple to untangle in terms of matchups. Pick two teams, one from the West and one from the East, and identify the better point total among those two.

(MORE: MLS playoff primer and schedule)

See? Simple.For instance (completely hypothetically), let’s say Los Angeles comes out of the West and faced D.C. United from the East. That match will be at RFK Stadium.

Here are the combined standings:

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Standings A