News: Conference alignment & schedule parameters announced

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by JasonMa, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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  2. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I do like the number of people complaining about Chicago being further West than Nashville and how the move is likely temporary until Austin joins next season and/or Sacramento and St. Louis join in 2022.
     
  3. footballfantatic

    Mar 27, 2008
    Ontario, California
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is okay, but it still makes the supporter's shield winners arguable... like always. I want a system that looks at the top-common or just top-ranked opponents' results against the top team in each conference as the actual SS winner. Any ideas or additions to the below on how to make a more equal SS system would be greatly appreciated. Here are my attempts:

    Option one: Take 2nd-5th in each conference and give points to the conference winner based on the head-to-head results against those teams. (ex. 2nd: 4pts, 3rd: 3pts...) The higher total number would be the shield winner and host of MLS Cup.

    The other option: Take the one table supporter's shield standings and give points based on the top 5 finishers to determine the true SS winner. This definitely needs some work to be effective, but the current system gifts the SS to the easiest conference in many cases.
     
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  4. GunnerJacket

    GunnerJacket Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 18, 2003
    Gainesville, GA
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Easiest response to a temporary problem. I can abide.
     
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  5. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thank you for the last two words. This isn't a significant change to the Shield. It had problems already and you either accepted them and cared about the Shield, or objected to them and ignored the Shield. The number of "the Shield is now meaningless" takes I've already seen this morning is ridiculous. If you think this is what causes the Shield to be meaningless you weren't paying attention.
     
  6. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe say "more meaningless"? While the SS was certainly meaningless outside the brief period in time there was a balanced schedule, the fact the SS won't even play an increasing number of teams from this point on make it even more meaningless now. It won't be too much longer that MLS could just do away with cross conference games entirely.
     
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  7. Pack87Man

    Pack87Man BigSoccer Supporter

    Sep 1, 2001
    Quad Cities
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My vote is that we bring back the Central. Make it so that the number of double game teams shrinks, and then play as many as possible of everyone else.
     
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  8. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Meh. IMHO, just divide the conferences into divisions. Having a Central conference muddies up the playoffs. It is certainly doable, but having the playoffs contained within the conferences is more interesting from a "rivalry" perspective.
     
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  9. whiteonrice04

    whiteonrice04 Member+

    Sep 8, 2006
    Not that anyone argued (a few did) but I called this would be the beginning of the end of playing every team. I knew they wouldn't increase the number of games and wouldn't scrap playing everyone in your conference twice.
    This seems like a significant turning point in the league. To my knowledge this is the first time ever in league history each team won't play each other.

    2020 there will be 3 teams not played.
    At 27 teams in 2021 there will be some that don't play 5 other teams.
    At 29 teams in 2022 there will be some teams that don't play 8 other teams.
    At 30 there will be 9 teams not played.
    We likely see 32 teams...at that point each team will likely only play 4 teams from other conference.

    While the SS was already not really a true competition because it wasn't a balanced schedule, it still felt valid to me because all teams were played. Now I think it needs to be completely scraped. Utterly pointless now. I'm not complaining. Things change and leagues grow but time to stop pretending with the SS.
     
  10. Kingston

    Kingston Member+

    Oct 6, 2005
    By 32 teams we'll dispense with playing the other conference altogether outside of the MLS Cup. The extra four games will go to rivalry matches within the conference (or within the division as each conference will likely be divided into two divisions by then).
     
  11. asoc

    asoc Member+

    Sep 28, 2007
    Tacoma
    GUYS...

    Listen, is the OG Supporters Shield still being held in someone's mothers basement in San Jose?

    How could we be so short sighted.

    Those holding onto the OG Shield were really just keeping it safe for when the league is at 34 teams and conferences are basically completely split.

    At that point the OG Shield gets unretired and will be given to the winner of the Western Conference going forward while the New Shield gets used in the Eastern Conference...
     
  12. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    Fire Crown 4 Life (or until they change it again)
    Jan 9, 2004
    Soldier Field Media Deck. First Row.
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    I know I will be upset if Chicago and StL aren't in the same conference.
     
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  13. nowherenova

    nowherenova Member+

    Jul 20, 2003
    Formerly Terminus
    Atlanta and Nashville in opposite conferences ??
     
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  14. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Downside of being in the middle of the country. There is going to be relatively nearby cities that don't end up in the same conference for whatever reason. It also isn't guaranteed to be a long term situation.
     
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  15. nowherenova

    nowherenova Member+

    Jul 20, 2003
    Formerly Terminus
    Stupidity. Start those southern rivalries immediately. Chicago should have been swapped with Nashville. It is also further west.
     
  16. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The whole point of the Shield is to be incredibly simple--most points wins. It's not dispositive of the best team, but it's still an accomplishment.
     
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  17. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Speaking of being in the middle of our nation and MLS HQ aligning cities as the league evolves, Chicago, Houston and K.C. have the honor of having competed in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. K.C. has actually won an MLS Cup representing each Conference.

    Chicago started out in the West so there is precedent for such a move back to the West to occur. Specifically since it does indeed allow Nashville and Atlanta to begin being Conference rivals right off the bat.
     
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  18. AlbertCamus

    AlbertCamus Member+

    Colorado Rapids
    Sep 2, 2005
    Colorado, USA
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Even with a balanced schedule the SS isn't perfect - players get injured and teams acquire players in the middle of the season. Just enjoy for what it is, mostly a guarantee of home advantage. And I don't think alternate tables are a good idea, keep it easy to understand.

    I'd prefer to play as many teams as possible before playing teams twice. I hate ideas of a complete separation of conferences until the final, I want to see a variety of opponents at my home team's park, and if somebody signs a big star, I want a chance to seem them. If Miami sings Ronaldo, he should play at least once in LA between the two teams, and at my home team of Colorado I should get a chance to see an east coast based star at least once every few seasons. Also, if the conference boundary ends up between Nashville and Chicago, for example, they should still get to play.

    I like the idea of a 3rd, middle conference, I've always wanted more inter-conference play in the play-offs and the possibility of a regional rivalry in the final. That possibility is one thing that is better about baseball's world series compared to other North American sports finals.
     
  19. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    However, when you consider that the next three teams joining the league are going to be West of Chicago and you could see why they'd keep Chicago in the East. As an expansion team, it is "less harmful" to put Nashville into the West than it would be to move Chicago into the West, move them back to the East after a few seasons, then move them back into the West at some later date when more Eastern cities join the league.

    This way Chicago remains in the East until its final move into the West and, in one to 2 seasons it moves into the East. Much “cleaner”.

    Of course, since the conferences are going to be unbalanced in 2022 anyways, why not just put Nashville in the East, had the East with 14 and West with 12. *shrug*
     
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  20. DCW531

    DCW531 Member

    Jan 31, 2017
    Don't sell Chicago (or MLS short) and forget about their stop in the Central. ;)
     
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  21. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If Team 30 is in the East, no need to move Chicago at all. Shift Nashville to the East, add AUS, STL, SAC, to the West, add Team 30 to the East, and you have a 15/15 split.

    Actually, if Team 30 is in the West, also no need to ever move Chicago. Just shift STL to the East.

    It would make the inter-conference math more difficult--assuming 2 games for all intra-conference matchups, the 14 East teams would have room for only 8 inter-conference games for a total of 112 games, while the 12 West teams would need 12 inter-conference games each for a total of 144 games.
     
  22. DCW531

    DCW531 Member

    Jan 31, 2017
    Rumor from the expansion forum of a Charlotte announcement Friday?

    Since they have a stadium, could they rush them into 2021, and keep even numbers?
     
  23. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree. Looking at the history of the sport from around the planet, playing against each and every team in a league is the go to standard. The points race and watching the table over the long season.

    Also, getting to play the same team multiple times, perhaps four times each season, this got solved via multiple competitions. I.e. league and cup play.
    Obviously in many nations there is the league fixture list of home and away but we know MLS and our North American continent travel demands really is now too big to allow for that. LAFC can play LAG every year and then as well meet in the Open Cup that same season. So us fans and supporters do get to witness multiple games against the same team. Some could say "the stars have to align" which is true but scarcity breeds power. Simply put, if you play your local derby just once a season, then the demand for tickets and or away travel to these encounters goes up. And since MLS went long on the smaller SSS concept (save the NFL owners or a Chicago return to Soldier Field), seats for the big rival or big name guy coming to town that one time every other Season would breed power. Any MLS Front Office would cherish this.
    If one looks at top tier college gridiron in our sporting landscape, with the Conferences, there used to be the culture of each team playing every other team. Overall winner is the Conference Champion. Then the Conferences started to expand in size of schools, thus a Conference had to decide how to schedule the 12 game season, so divisions were added and a Title game was now incorporated to crown the Conference Champion. Odd thing is, and just looking at this season in the SEC, Florida and Auburn used to play every season, that has since stopped and many fans find this not a good thing. Then there is Georgia and Texas A&M this season, which TAMU entered the SEC 8 seasons ago and in that time never had played Georgia in Conference play. So if we learn from this and apply it to MLS as our league grows and MLS HQ keeps having to move teams at the least and perhaps down the road just tell us that there will be years in between your city playing another city.

    Again, I agree. Just for the very reason that a man or woman can say they saw the defending champions come to town or like you mention, a global star played against their team. To witness either live at your local ground or via a screen, one of the sport's icons when he played here.


    I mentioned this in another thread in that MLS should be a North American pro sports league that guarantees the entire fan base of being able to have your team lock horns with each and every team season after season. Have the Conferences be cosmetic, for the All Star game selection or a League Cup and really look to have MLS Cup competed by the top points earners season after season which like you mention could deliver a MLS Cup Final where there is a derby on display!
     
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  24. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was thinking more about teams 31+ than team 30. Given the US's population distribution, it's more likely that 31+ will be in the Eastern US than Western US.

    It gets messy regardless and it would have only been for a season. Austin would have made it 13/14 in 2021 and Sacramento/St. Louis make it 15/14 in 2022.
     
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  25. whiteonrice04

    whiteonrice04 Member+

    Sep 8, 2006
    #25 whiteonrice04, Dec 2, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    Nashville is very much in the Eastern portion of the country geographically.
    Teams in the "middle" would be Dallas, Houston, Austin, Kansas City, Minnesota.

    I think putting Nashville and Atlanta in different conferences and therefore only one game is a mistake for their first year. Not only that, their game is the first game of the year so there are no other Nashville/Atlanta match ups to look forward to the whole rest of the season.

    MLS raves about rivalries yet they are going to make these fans wait probably over 12 months for another match up?
     
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