21 November 2010

Changes Coming To The MLS Post-Season

In a recent report by the Washington Post, MLS Commissioner Don Garber made comments about changes coming to the MLS during the offseason, including getting rid of the playoff system where teams like FC Dallas become the "Eastern Conference Champion", even though they aren't a member of the Eastern Conference. Yep. You read that right.

Here's how the MLS Playoff system works. The two conferences are supposed to send four team so the playoffs. However, theres a rule that says that if the 5th and/or 6th place team in the first conference that has more points then the 3rd and/or 4th place in the second conference, then they go to the playoffs in the second conference. Lets use a real life example from the 2010 season.

LA Galaxy - 59
Real Salt Lake - 56
FC Dallas - 50
Seattle Sounders FC - 48
Colorado Rapids - 46
San Jose Earthquakes - 46
Houston Dynamo - 33
Chivas USA - 28

New York Red Bulls - 51
Columbus Crew - 50
Kansas City Wizards - 39
Chicago Fire - 36
Toronto FC - 35
New England Revolution - 32
Philadelphia Union - 31
DC United - 22
(Teams in bold went to the playoffs)

See? Dallas, Seattle, Colorado, and San Jose all had more points then anyone in the Eastern conference, so they went to the playoffs. Garber has promised that this policy will be phased out over the offseason. 

Personally, I'm all for this change. How do I explain to someone that the Eastern Conference Champion in 2010 is FC Dallas?? That just, geographically, does. not. make. sense. Thank god that this is finally getting changed. Now, does a team that only got 35 points deserve to make it into the playoffs? Because, theoretically, Chicago, with 36 points, could've made it into the playoffs, gotten into lucky form, and become the MLS Champions. I'm not saying that that, in itself, is wrong. I personally think that more emphasis should be placed on the MLS Supporters Shield, the team with the most points at the end of the season. This is how it is in the Europe and I personally think that that should become more important in the MLS then it currently is. Story for another day I think. 

- Zach

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