The MLS Playoffs Are Here! They Are Still Weird!

 

Will Nick Rimando and RSL be able to repeat MLS Cup glory?

 

 

The 2010 MLS Playoffs start tonight, and it might just be the most even playoffs yet. Favorites can be named, but let’s be honest with ourselves: Any of these clubs can lift the MLS Cup this season.

For those unfamiliar with the playoffs, this is the setup:

-Each first round and second round match-up are played on two legs, with the MLS Cup Final being one match.

-Eight of the current 16 MLS teams are competing, with the top two clubs in each conference qualifying, and the remaining four clubs with the highest points at the end of the year will also qualify.

-The away goals rule IS used. If you are tied after two legs, and the away goals are equal, it is on to extra time, and then penalty kicks, if necessary.

– The top-seeded club will qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup (LA Galaxy)

-The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth-seeded club will qualify for the U.S. Open cup. (RSL, RBNY, Columbus, Dallas, Seattle)

-Since there are six clubs that have qualified from the Western Conference, the top four will be West 1-4. The top two clubs from the East will be East 1 and 2. The fifth and sixth teams from the West will be East 3 and 4.

That last point is the big problem with the playoff setup. Why should Los Angeles, who just won the MLS Supporters Shield, the award for being the best club in the regular season, have to play Seattle in the first round? There is no bigger punishment for finishing first than playing the hottest club in MLS.

There are only 16 clubs in MLS. There will be 18 next season. There is absolutely no reason to have conferences. If you want to argue travel distance, fine. But it doesn’t matter. Scheduling can be rearranged so that a club doesn’t have to travel all over in consecutive weeks. Get rid of the conferences, and have a single table format. The club that finishes first should play the eighth-seeded club. No exceptions. It is a punishment for both Los Angeles and Seattle to have it the way that it is. This is one change that would do nothing but benefit MLS.

 

Edson Buddle will try to keep his incredible season alive just a few more weeks as Los Angeles heads into the playoffs.

 

As MLS expands, Commissioner Don Garber and the rest of the administration will have to take a good hard look at this. It will help improve the game incredibly over here. And Garber is all about improving the game, right?

Here is the list of first leg match-ups for the first round of the MLS Playoffs (all times ET):

10/28 Columbus Crew v Colorado Rapids 9 p.m.

10/30 Real Salt Lake v FC Dallas 5 p.m.

10/30 Red Bull New York v San Jose Earthquakes 10 p.m.

10/31 LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders FC 8 p.m.

Regardless of the faulty seeding system, this is going to be one cracker of a playoff. Every soccer fan in the United States should be glued to their televisions or computers for this. If you are primarily an aficionado of the European game, I highly suggest checking these playoffs out. They will not disappoint.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christopher Boulay, Christopher Boulay. Christopher Boulay said: New post from #ParkTheBus http://bit.ly/ctL0Jb #MLS Playoffs Are Here! They Are Still Weird! […]

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