News: Conference alignment & schedule parameters announced

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

  1. NashSC

    NashSC Member+

    Nashville SC
    United States
    Jan 3, 2018
    It seems blatantly obvious what their future plans are based on what they are doing for 2020. I said many times, the 2020 season would be very telling. I think the days of playing every team are done for good.
    I find it odd to still be thinking they are going to move to divisions, and play every team after what was just announced.
    I think one of the big goals is to reduce travel. There seems to have been a lot of coach/player complaining about that (for good reason).
     
    Baysider and footballfantatic repped this.
  2. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #52 CeltTexan, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Well stated.
    However if what we already witness of how certain owners run their clubs and said owners give their FO the green light to attract higher command salary players, looking at committed owners and their teams as is in 2019 moving forward, that Pacific Division are bringing M-1 Tanks to the battle and us in the West Division are showing up with fuc{in' pellet guns!
    The two L.A. clubs have owners that spend. Then there is the consistent push to one up each other in Portland and Seattle who clearly know what they are doing, those four clubs alone have owners that are all in to the booming MLS landscape. The other two as is can hold their in the league on any given night own and Sacramento is an unknown. Where us in the West have perhaps one team in K.C. that the owners are all in, RSL as well as shown by their Academy investment, MinnU is a on track but that leaves the rest of us behind the 8 ball. Iron sharpens iron. That Pacific Division as we know of these clubs now, would consistently be getting better while the rest of us of from the old Western Conference would be getting the picture.


    I
    f my MLS team wins our division, if that is how Garber and MLS HQ will divvy up playoff slots a la the NFL does with division winners in a league, then the award for even making the playoffs is getting the chance to fly up to Seattle or over to L.A. and find out what their division serves up come playoffs. To make no mention of locking horns with the East. Again, the division concept works so well in the NFL as there is just one NFL. (Well two if we count the CFL) With only one trophy to focus on in a league with tremendous parity built in and a very short season in duration. In a pro soccer league there is often very little parity as shown the world over and yet several opportunities to win a trophy so even modest clubs are still in the hunt for some silverware over the long season. The league title and certainly a domestic Cup trophy at the minimum. Then regional play and that sought after trophy. MLS HQ has tried to build in parity inside MLS but as the league has grown and more owners have been added, this parity is going the way of the dinosaur.
    As today and more so in the future an MLS club's Front Office can and will serve up the old line of "We are still in the hunt for the playoffs" all season long even though anyone in the stands knows that on paper this stat might be true but the team is average at best having been knocked out of the USOC for not even caring and hasn't sniffed regional play in years. Yet inside their division they are in 2nd place! Our FO in Houston are kings of this comedic sales pitch season after season.

    I hear this travel demand complaint from professional soccer coaches and players in MLS and on average over the long season an MLS club will have two home games a month and two away games. Perhaps regional play or a USOC match midweek here and there. But in the NBA and NHL with an 82 and 84 games schedule that have their teams play like MLS all across the U.S. and one trip to Canada, these complaints from MLS seem like a wash if they want sympathy. Perhaps not flying on charter flights really is the backbreaker for pro soccer dudes.
     
  3. ToMhIlL

    ToMhIlL Member+

    Feb 18, 1999
    Boxborough, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    OK, I got it wrong about the timing of expansion. With so much expansion going on and with several teams announced, it's easy to lose track of who will actually start playing when.

    So this is the timetable:
    2020: Miami and Nashville, 26 teams total
    2021: Austin, 27
    2022: St Louis and Sacramento, 29
    2023 and later: Maybe 3 from Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas, Phoenix or somewhere else, 32

    The thing is, in 2021 you could go with a "Central" division and have 3 divisions of 9, and it would be a nice and even 16+9+9 for 34 games. But that would only be for a year, and then we're up to 29 teams. At that point, it's probably going to be best to go with 4 divisions of 7, 7, 7, and 8. Teams in the 7-team divisions could have an easy 34-game schedule, but the teams in the 8-team division would have 35, or skip one game against one of the teams outside the division.

    If they are already going with the idea of not playing everyone, they'll probably keep this when we're at 27, so it will be just one more team not to play. I assume Austin will go in the West and Nashville would move to the East in that scenario.
     
  4. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    MLS' desire to be the NFL is really disturbing. The NFL is an absolutely woeful entertainment product, propped up only by its monopoly and America's cultural addiction to football, two things MLS will never have. The viability of its dregs is also enhanced by the NFL draft to an extent that I don't think MLS appreciates.

    American sports ownership culture doesn't have the faintest notion of producing something that the mass public would invest its passion in, they've been just ever more efficiently sucking the blood of the passion they inherited for decades.

    Developed in the same spirit, MLS is going to fall flat on its face.
     
    harrylee773 repped this.
  5. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    Well guess what, MLS isn't competing against the NBA and NHL for players, it's competing against foreign leagues in which the travel and weather situation is much, much better.

    They're also competing with those foreign leagues for fan interest of course, in a way the monopolistic US big four don't have to. If the NBA could be putting on a better product (and they absolutely could) it doesn't matter because they're the only game in town.
     
    AZUL GALAXY and NashSC repped this.
  6. 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
    Man, it's awful seeing all those new franchises coming into the league filling stadiums with fans watching an inauthentic, passionless soccer product... just awful.
     
    ElNaranja, chrayatl, Baysider and 6 others repped this.
  7. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    Sports as a cultural touchstone is waning across sports and countries, it's not just here. So spare me the "inauthentic" straw man dogwhistle canard.

    MLS has been bucking that trend, offering something different at an accessible price point, with some enormous successes to show for it. But the knives are out to carve up the golden goose.

    Being a fan of a big four team that isn't any good (which is the majority of them at any given time) is just a dreary procession from one listless mediocre match-up to another, increasingly with the very literal and straightforward understanding that the interests of the franchise are in losing rather than winning. MLS isn't structured in a way that it's going to run into any tanking problems, which is good, but if the powers that be think they can grow soccer in 2019 with the dreck they're feeding their big four fans, passion that was borne of an era when spitting in the customer's face wasn't as open and gleeful as it is now, I think they have another thing coming.

    If MLS wants to keep expanding and growing in revenue without opening up the system, ultimately it's going to have to find a way to avoid the meaningless slog that is the NBA and NHL regular season, among many other hurdles.

    Four entirely separate 8 team leagues, a season-ending four-team playoff of the champions, and, say, purchasing the US Open Cup and hyping the heck of out it as another competition under the same TV deal? Maybe you're getting somewhere at that point.
     
    Allez RSL repped this.
  8. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Many teams travel by a bus. In England or Scotland travel might be short but that weather comment of yours is negated by 40 degree and rain weather 7 months of the year. Then there are nations that have all sorts of topography or distance of travel like in a Colombia or Turkey or Brasil. How do those clubs get around. Bus and planes I would like to think. So for MLS guys, flying in a plane for two weekends out of four is what then? I think many of us with day jobs, occupations that are a trip to the dentist many of days of the week, we would have no problem every other weekend flying around North America to play soccer. Sheet, my buddies and I would do this for free! Much less get on a plane to go play soccer in New York City or Miami and get a paycheck doing it. Return to our day jobs on Monday. I can hear your pov but c'mon maing, defending travel demands for MLS players is funny.

    Is this shocking new to anyone, that MLS has to compete with other foreign leagues? Those leagues have a one hundred year head start on our MLS. Compound this need to catch up in the competition category alone, there are all the in built negatives soccer endures here in our culture from the pay to play set up that excludes so many kids from getting into the sport, to MLS HQ fiddling with the sport right off the bat by going against FIFA standards in clock and points to a very real hatred directed towards the beautiful game by many in the media over the years. I am of the opinion that MLS players and coaches that want to gripe about travel demands placed on their delicate bodies need to run a check of what pro soccer has had to go to just to get to where it is today. What many at the grass roots level have endured to grow the sport and helped out on their free time just so there is a men's league to enjoy!
     
  9. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    Everyone knows it, but not enough thought is spent on the way that makes the league's needs and incentives entirely different from the big four. Yeah sure it's all sports, but it's just a very different business environment for them.

    I shed no moral tears for the guys that get to be shepherded around the country playing a children's game either. But I have a burning lifelong desire to see the sport succeed in this country, and that means, among many other things, doing what it takes to produce a working environment that attracts and retains great players.
     
  10. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This thread turned into a train wreck...
     
  11. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Rapids lifers know a train wreck when they see one! Haha!
     
    AlbertCamus repped this.
  12. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    I've never quite understood this board's resistance to discussing the league in broad conceptual terms. I find that stuff fascinating, and issues like this a natural springboard to those discussions.
     
    don gagliardi repped this.
  13. 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
    A springboard to "You be the Don".
     
    ElNaranja, chrayatl and Grumpy in LA repped this.
  14. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    Well right, burying those things in an ignored desert makes clear that those discussions aren't wanted.

    But then this thread is clearly a "how should this be structured?" conversation, so it's a little confusing to me. What seems to ultimately be unwelcome is criticism of the league. And heck, what fun is that?
     
  15. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Back in the day BigSoccer.com MLS boards were hella fun, having so few teams in the league and then all the members from cities that back then didn't have teams but figured we all would one day, we would take threads on epic left turns. Various Styles would lurk and troll these boards as the Mexican MLS n U.S. hater he was raised to be. Then there was everyone's favorite NDN playing nice. And even when there was out of line posts, of course our Mods kept track of the banter and insults and passed down the decorum as well as Willie Nelson's tax accountants!

    I navigate there once every few years.
     
    Ismitje repped this.
  16. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ain't the truth. See 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014...
     
  17. don gagliardi

    don gagliardi Member+

    San Jose Earthquakes
    Feb 28, 2004
    san jose
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    I was actually thinking this is one of the more thought-provoking threads I've read in awhile.
     
    CeltTexan and Fighting Illini repped this.
  18. btharner

    btharner Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    Sunbury, Pa.
    Yeah, but you still have one more championship than some teams.
     
  19. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    While I mostly disagree with Illini, I think this is a good point. The structure of the league at a theoretical level, and the changes that are ongoing, are news and analysis. YBTD was an effort to quarantine this discussion and it was mostly successful in killing it. Is it so bad to have discussion on a discussion board?
     
    Fighting Illini and NashSC repped this.
  20. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    When I think of conference alignment and schedule parameters, to me the first question should be "what are we trying to accomplish with this structure? What do alignments and scheduling have to do in order to advance the interests and purposes of the league?"

    A lot of comparisons were made to NFL scheduling in the thread (a natural place to look when thinking of a 32 team structure of course), but when thinking about the broader goals of MLS, and soccer in this country in general, that was just a record-scratch for me. I know people disagree, but great! That's what we're here for, let's talk about it!
     
  21. 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 mean... it seems like "to try to balance keeping a relatively balanced competition within conferences where playoffs are decided while trying to get as many teams playing against each other as we can on the schedule" seems to be the what they're going for.
     
  22. Fighting Illini

    Fighting Illini Member+

    Feb 6, 2014
    Chicago
    Certainly so, but with every franchise you add that starts slipping from your grasp a bit more.

    So how do you square the desire for expansion with maintaining the competitive integrity?

    "Just be like the NFL" is fools gold, IMO. The NFL is very successful, but presenting a competitively compelling, fan-friendly sports product sure as heck ain't why.

    Maintaining a closed league at that scale (or larger, there's no sign of stopping) is going to require some creativity to keep all the ships afloat. Carolina FC faces hurdles and competitive pressures that the Carolina Panthers never will.
     
  23. AlbertCamus

    AlbertCamus Member+

    Colorado Rapids
    Sep 2, 2005
    Colorado, USA
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    I don't mind 3 divisions, or 4 divisions without conferences. But non-conference games should have the flexibility to be ad-hoc, so, for example, the Eastern Canadian teams should always get to play Vancouver (at least once).

    And don't have the play-off brackets be within divisions, like the NHL. If the best two teams are in the same division, I don't want to eliminate one because they played each other in the 1st or 2nd round. Ideally, let them meet in the final if they both get that far.
     
  24. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    For me, there are several of considerations. The first is where the meaningful lines are drawn to generate fan interest. For example, in the EPL there is a line for winning, for making the champions league and for getting relegated (or not). For MLS the lines are mostly winning and making the playoffs, and to a lesser extent, having a bye in the playoffs and winning a conference championship. To the extent that the latter matters, more (and therefore) smaller conferences or divisions add value. Personally, I don't find that too important, but I recognize that it does matter.

    A second consideration is to be able to see the stars from the other conference. The price for the Galaxy for getting Beckham was that they had to basically go on tour to show him around the league. Again, this is important, but the more TV starts to matter, the less this is important.

    A third consideration (as mentioned) was the cost of travel, both in terms of the fitness of the players and the actual costs of charters.

    A fourth consideration is whether a balanced schedule matters for competitive reasons. As much as people say they care, I never hear how the 2011 Galaxy were legitimate champions in a way that the other supporters' shield winners were not. Once you have playoffs, it's not that important.

    Finally, rivalries matter and so home and home games every season against the same few teams, is needed. This argues for smaller divisions, in the NFL style, once the league gets big.
     
    CMeszt and Fighting Illini repped this.
  25. Kingston

    Kingston Member+

    Oct 6, 2005
    As this discussion has moved on to future considerations, a relevant question appears to be: How many teams will MLS ultimately have?
     

Share This Page