You may or may not know this but Major League Soccer is currently in post season playoffs. Now that might not sound strange to all of you, but for some you may be asking yourself, "What? Playoffs in a soccer league?" Yes, that's right, the MLS has playoff, which isn't like many soccer leagues out there.
So "Why?" you might ask. Well, there are a few reasons that the MLS implemented playoffs to their league, but the main reason what to gear the league to the general American population who loves playoffs. See, in most if not all soccer leagues around the world, there are no playoffs. At the end of the regular season, the team with the most overall points based off of wins, losses and draw is the winner of the league that season. May sound weird, but thats how it is and it works great for many of these leagues. Instead of following this single table structure, Major League Soccer decided they needed to have playoffs because the American public wouldn't like the "anticlimactically" season structure that the European leagues have.
Okay, fine. I get it. Yes, I might be a purist when it comes to soccer, but if you absolutely have to have a playoff system, which if you haven't figured out by this point I'm not a fan of, then fine, do it. But do it right! Unfortunately, the MLS hasn't set up the playoff structure right and it is terrible and unfair.
Here's a quick run down. There is a Western Conference and an Eastern Conference. Each team within the MLS plays every other team and the two teams at the top of each the Eastern and Western Conferences at the end of the regular season get a spot in the playoffs. The next four teams that get to go to the playoffs are the following teams with the best records no matter which conference they are from. This means that there could be 2 teams from the Eastern Conference in the playoffs and 6 teams from the Western Conference in the playoffs. Not a very balanced playoff set up is it? Now this is were it gets all messed up. Rather than seeding all 8 teams, 1-8 and have a bracket set up, Major League Soccer decided to have two tables which means in the case that 2 teams from one conference and 6 from the other go to the playoffs, the number 1 overall ranked team must play a higher ranked team than the 8th ranked team. Unfair? Yes. Here is this season's playoff breakdown with the teams' overall season points:
Western Conference Eastern Conference (59) Los Angeles Galaxy (51) New York Red Bulls (56) Real Salt Lake (50) Columbus Crew (50) FC Dallas (48) Seattle Sounder FC (46) Colorado Rapids (46) San Jose Earthquakes
Because there are only 2 teams from the east in the playoffs, the bottom 2 teams from the west move to the Eastern Conference Playoffs. LAME!!!!! That means that the New York Redbulls and the Columbus Crew, who have a worse records than the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake get to play easier teams in the playoffs. It looks like this and I added what their seeding would have been if they were seeded instead:
Western Conference Eastern Conference 1 -Los Angeles Galaxy 3 - New York Red Bulls 2 -Real Salt Lake 5 - Columbus Crew 4 - FC Dallas 7 - Colorado Rapids 6 - Seattle Sounders FC 8 - San Jose Earthquakes
Somethings messed up here. How is it fair that the best team in the regular season has to play the 6th best team rather than the 8th best? It makes no sense and this needs to be changed ASAP!
My recommendation, drop MLS playoffs all together. Trust me Major League Soccer. You won't lose any fans because of it and you won't have fans who are mad that their team was unfairly kick out of the MLS Cup race because of an unfair playoffs set up. But, if you must have playoffs, seed the teams based off of their regular season standings and put them into a tournament bracket. It's that simple!
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About the reviewer
Ryan Weiss (RyanWeiss)
Follow Me On Twitter: @RyanWeiss Read My Blog:Virtual Ryan Born and raised in So Cal. Go Dodgers!!! I went to LMU and studied Business Admin/Marketing. I love Soccer … more
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The 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs is the postseason to Major League Soccer's 2010 season. MLS Cup 2010 will conclude the season at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario.
At the 2010 season's end, the top two teams of each conference will make the playoffs; in addition the clubs with the next four highest point totals, regardless of conference, will be added to the playoffs. In the first round of this knockout tournament, aggregate (total) goals over two matches will determine the winners; the Conference Championships will be one match each, with the winner of each conference advancing to MLS Cup. In all rounds, the tie-breaking method will be two 15-minute periods of extra time, followed by penalty kicks if necessary. The away goals rule is not used.