MLS Missing A Big Opportunity: Get Rid of Playoffs and Play Up the Open Cup!

Last night was the US Open Cup Final between Seattle Sounders F.C. and Columbus Crew. The final, as you probably know was 2-1 in favor of Seattle. Congrats Sounders supporters! It was a great match and you deserved the victory.

But onto the blog post…

The US Open Cup has existed in some form since 1914. It is our oldest continuous soccer competition in the United States. But since the birth of Major League Soccer, the Open Cup has had some good and bad happen to it. The good? It has gotten much, much more attention, as it is now the premiere cup tournament in the United States. The bad? It is second fiddle to the MLS playoffs, which are much more important.

The MLS Playoffs really don’t need to exist. There is no reason in my eyes that we need anything other than a single table, of 20 teams that all compete for CONCACAF Champions League spots, as well as a titleholder. If MLS expanded the teams to 20 (as they plan to), they could certainly remove the playoffs altogether. This would automatically put more emphasis on the Open Cup. And why not?

The Open Cup is our version of the FA Cup. It is the biggest tournament in the United States. That would be great if we could play that up. Then, we could give the MLS Cup to the team that wins the league during the season, and then give the supporters shield for another tournament, or just get rid of it altogether. With playoffs, the Supporters’ Shield is for all intents and purposes, useless.

MLS also uses one table for the playoffs, so there really isn’t a point to keep conferences at all. They aren’t used, nor paid any attention to, so why are they there. Supporters know who their rivals are. They don’t need to be told.

Just do it already, Garber. If we wanted to watch the NFL, we would be doing it. Don’t continue to try and make us the NFL because it will never work. Embrace the budding soccer culture that is becoming our own here. We need single table. I’m not asking for pro/rel (yet). We just need this so that our league can continue to look toward the future.

We have a great thing going. Let’s continue that trend. Single table/no playoffs by 2012!


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