Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEWS WATCH - Major League Soccer Announces New Playoff Format

10 playoff teams? Ribbons for everyone!
Major League Soccer announced their new playoff format for the upcoming 2011 season. The league, now with 18 teams playing, will feature ten playoff teams vying for the MLS Cup.

Here's the league's line:
The league’s new structure will include the top three seeds from each conference and four wild card berths - regardless of conference affiliation - but the postseason will now include two play-in games for those wild card teams.
The expanded system now allows for more teams to be included in the postseason chase, driving more interest throughout the league as two additional teams vie for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
We're all about the American soccer, but having 56% of your league team enter the post-season seems to us like rewarding regular season mediocrity. Certainly that hasn't been the case for the past couple of seasons in MLS.....

If you think of the "wild card" play-in games more like one would for the NCAA basketball tournament then those teams don't really count as "playoff" teams and there's only really eight hats in the ring for the MLS Cup. Granted there's no college basketball play-in teams wining Division I titles, whereas when it comes to the "Fall Classic" for the league, all bets are off.

Being the true optimists that we are about our version of the domestic game we can brag to the rest of the American sports leagues that our "wild cards" are truly wild!

"The MLS Cup Playoffs: Russian Roulette Is More Predictable!"

Here' a helpful video from MLS to explain it all (although if you have to create a video to explain it, then its probably already too complicated):

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davidconnell said...

MLS needs to rebrand this as a cup tournament rather than an American-style playoff system, because that's really what it is.

I know this gets into the whole "Euro-aping" issue, but it seems like this is a case of trying to fit a round peg in a square whole. MLS teams can win the supporter's shield, which is becoming increasingly important, and they can win the MLS Cup which has always been held up (as it should) as the big win at the end of the season. Both of those honors (along with CONCACAF Champions League qualification) should give teams ample reason to perform all season.

MLS brass should be marketing the importance of all of these trophies and tournaments to soccer fans and talking about winning trebles, etc. (of course I cringe just typing the word).

I know that's not what we do in the USA, but it's what works for soccer and it's what works for what MLS has has available to them.

Anonymous said...

I hate play-offs in soccer. High point winner wins the league!

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