À bas la différence

Okay, so, why can't I call it "goal differential"?  "Goal difference" sounds like it means the difference between individual goals.  "Differential" doesn't just sound more sophisticated, it sounds correct.  And, according to my three second Internet definition lookup, it is correct:

A blood cell count in which the percentages of cell types are calculated as well as the total number of cells.

So "goal differential" should be the correct term, not - god damn it, wait.

An epicyclic train of gears designed to permit two or more shafts to rotate at different speeds, as a set of gears in an automobile permitting the rear wheels to be driven at different speeds when the car is turning.

That settles it.  It should - oh, for the love of -

a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.

So, were the West to come down to the second tiebreaker, we would be comparing the difference between the quantity of goals the Sounders have scored and allowed, with the separate and distinct difference between the Galaxy yadda yadda blee.  We are comparing differences.  Differential.  Thank you, tip your server.

Fortunately, this argument will simmer for another day, because that is merely the second tiebreaker in MLS, as opposed to the procedures used in - well, political correctness forbids me from saying something like "stupid backward foreign tribes," but, if you want to disagree, go ahead, your right to hate America is what our veterans fought and died for.

I love tangents.  Anyway, the FIRST tiebreaker is total wins, and, once Seattle and Los Angeles spend the next two weeks plodding to tedious 0-0 draws resting for the playoffs, Seattle will win the Supporters Shield based on having more wins than the Galaxy.

As it should be.  Assuming the Sounders don't drop all six points, Seattle will have sent their fans home happy and/or opposing fans home miserable more often than Los Angeles.  The Galaxy can boast of making their wins into blood-soaked massacres - which, as a Galaxy fan, was frankly delightful - and they didn't lose as often. 

But it's soccer, not don'tloseball.  Seattle proved their superiority more often.  The supporters were happier more often.  And, it's called the Supporters Shield.  If the Galaxy wanted the thing so badly, they should have saved some of the goals they got running up the score on the Rapids and finished off the Quakes or the Impact. 

Speaking of things MLS is doing right - by now we all have read Juergen Klinsmann, in a press conference so embarrassing US Soccer won't put it on their website, said that without promotion and relegation, he wouldn't be able to tell which players are playing at a high level or not.  That's pretty troubling.  For one thing, it says he would not have scouted Miguel Ibarra if Minnesota United could promote to MLS based on on-field results, but would have assumed every NASL player is by definition inferior.  Scouts, especially national team scouts who almost by definition have to make allowances for different leagues, need to be able to evaluate players, not corporate structures.  If promotion and relegation is going to prevent US Soccer from properly judging talent at all levels, then that's yet another reason why such a system should never be introduced here.

Although I have to admit I'm completely perplexed at the idea of a link between promotion and relegation and player development, not least because no one has had the common courtesy to actual detail such a link.  The most thought I've seen put into the argument is that (1) every World Cup winner's home league has promotion and relegation, (2) we've never won a World Cup, (3) GET IT?!  With promotion and relegation, we can win as many World Cups as Mexico and Holland COMBINED!

And, because the argument is so baffling, I wouldn't even know how to refute it using real life examples.  Ideally, I'd like to be able to point at a worldwide economic power, whose home league has promotion and relegation, but whose national team has been a basket case, but I don't know where one would

find such a nation.  I guess maybe if there was a country which didn't have promotion and relegation, then switched to that system for whatever reason, only to have no discernible effect on its national team, then that would be a helpful example, but again, it's not easy to

come up with an example.  Who knows, maybe if I tried hard enough, I could think of a country that doesn't have promotion and relegation at all, but consistently qualifies ahead of those that do, but

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that would be too much to ask for. 

I guess I'm left with wondering what the hell kind of youth coach motivates kids by saying "If you don't get better, someday the club you end up playing for will be in a relegation battle, and THEN who will you call?  Your MOMMY?"  Although I guess that would explain a lot about youth development in this country if they do.