Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Very Brain Response

For someone named Brian, typing brain is a lot harder than I thought it should be.


So I posted my piece about the Single Table Theory and how I do not think that it would work for MLS in an environment that would never introduce a relegation system. Following my take on that, I presented ways for MLS to use it's current system and build on it in ways to increase competitiveness and make the matches more meaningful during the season.

Please check out the response that was posted at My Very Brain, as it is a very good one and offers a lot of points that I actually believe in.

The POV I was using for the first piece, and I guess I should have made that clear, is that I honestly do not think MLS is still aware of just how bad they are screwing themselves with a 32 game season, with 12 clubs, then follow that up with a knockout playoff system that only eliminates 25% of the league. As the system right now is broken, I was offering some ideas on how they could fix their system, in a way that they might have accepted.

MLS's current playoff system is broken. When you allow 75% of the league into the playoffs, people have to ask why the long season? As the LA Times had on their website:

"Major League Soccer received the clearest of possible signals over the weekend that its playoff format needs rethinking as a total of only 38,133 fans turned out to see the four first-round matches in Southern California, Chicago, New Jersey and Denver."-- Los Angeles Times

I think the fans have asked this question already.

I honestly think that in order for MLS to actually make the playoffs mean anything, they need to reduce the number of clubs that can play in them. Cut the number of total playoff clubs to 6, 3 per conference. The next thing that MLS should do is truly reward its Conference Champions, and give them a bye to the Conference Championship match, a match that they host. Have the #2 and #3 seeded teams in each conference play each other in a single match at the #2 seeded teams home ground. The winner moves on to face the #1 seeded club in their conference the following week. What is the point of FC Dallas winning the Western Conference if they had to go to Colorado for a match?

In my article, I said that I do not suggest or support expanding the number of play off teams, I never mentioned lowering the number. The primary reason I didn't bring it up is that there have been several MLS officials that have said flat out that the number of playoff teams will not be reduced and that once they have more clubs in the league, that the playoffs will make more sense and mean more. While any statement that uses the phrase "make sense" as a way to describe MLS is like saying "compassionate Conservative," I was simply trying to build off of MLS's position.

As for the MLS regular season, I honestly think that it is too long and they could do away with at least 6 of the matches. Doing something like that would require different planning than they currently have, as it would mean several teams only play each other 3 times instead of the four times, and who decides who gets the extra home game?

Jeff at My Very Brain brought up some issues opposing my suggestions and he says that he will be offering up his own set of ideas as how to deal with these issues. I am going to wait until then to see how he handles the issues he brought up. I did feel though that he misunderstood my approach to the article and my position on the MLS playoffs. For that reason only, I felt that I needed to explain myself.


Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

Dang. This is going to be harder than I thought: what you've got here actually matches a lot of "proto-structure" I have as a rough draft in my mind. Still, I won't be daunted from the attempt.

Very sound elaboration, by the way.

I think the area that most needs exploring is the one you hit on in the original: the balance between business and sports aesthetics. That's a huge area of exploration and one that needs deeper digging. The league being as they are, it's going to be hard to find information with which to work.

Good posts, both of them.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Thomas Shawn said...

It's time for the MLS to stop pretending to be the NHL/MLB/NBA/NFL. It needs to do futbol in a futbol kind of way. One table, irrespective of geography, it is one country and one league.

When the league can get more of those futbol only stadia then the league will really take off. I'm anxiously awaitng New England's and I've asked the mayor of my city to make a bid for it.

5:41 PM  

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