Major League Soccer's 17th season had been in the books for fewer than 48 hours when the race for the 2013 championship began.
The Los Angeles Galaxy's locker room at The Home Depot Center probably still reeked of stale champagne when several teams made roster moves Monday, highlighted by a trade between Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls that sent RSL veterans Jámison Olave and Fabián Espíndola to the East Coast.
This offseason will be the shortest in league history, and clubs already have started planning for Friday's re-entry draft and the Jan. 17 college draft in Indianapolis. The regular season will kick off in just three months.
As a result, there's little time to reflect. But reflection is a must because there were lessons to be learned, or at least reinforced, during the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs. Some reflect decisions the league might want to rethink while others could be part of a blueprint for the 18 teams hoping to unseat the Galaxy next year.