Let's Figure Out This 30 Team Schedule...

Discussion in 'MLS: Commissioner - You be The Don' started by DannyTRadio, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. DannyTRadio

    DannyTRadio New Member

    Chicago Fire
    United States
    Mar 4, 2019
    Even though 90% (probably even more) of the soccer world is saying 30 teams is way too many for a soccer league, it's happening. And trying to make a realistic schedule for that many MLS teams is a nightmare. But I think this video covers it.

    The choice MLS needs to make is how to align the divisions (Don't see Single Table happening with 30 teams). Two divisions with East and West. Three divisions, with East, West, and Central. Four Divisions, with either East and West act as conferences and have two divisions in them, or have four divisions act as their own. Or six divisions, with Northeast, Atlantic, Southeast, Central, Northwest and Southwest. Again, could either have two conferences with East and West both having three divisions, or just have the six divisions on their own.

    When making this, the only rule I had was each team had to play each other at least once. And this assumes that promotion/relegation is off the table.

    Would love to hear your opinions. What format do you think works best? And what do you think about MLS expanding to 30 teams?

     
  2. ElNaranja

    ElNaranja Member

    Houston Dynamo
    United States
    Jul 16, 2017
    Ah, the old schedule challenge from eons ago. I say we take inspiration from the NFL and you play everyone home/away by rotation over a set of years.

    2 conferences, 4 divisions. With 30 teams it'll be off but let's be real, well get to 32 eventually which would make that balanced.

    8 team division
    -Play everyone in your division three times, rotated every year for equal h/a (21)
    -Play everyone in your conference home or away, rotated every year (7)
    -Play 6 teams from the other conference home or away through a long cycle until you've played them all home and away

    34 games.

    First 7 team divisions, it's not much different
    -Your division 3 times (18)
    -Conference once (8)
    -8 teams from the other conference once
    34 games
     
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  3. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I agree, it will get to 32 soon enough, but to deal with 30 teams two balanced conferences, west and east as we have now, 15. Play everyone home and away, 28 matches, then six interconference matches, on a rotating schedule so that everyone plays everyone every 2.5 seasons.
    At 32, the same systems says each club plays everyone in the other conference every 4 years (plus, potentially, in MLS Cup and Open Cup).
     
  4. Initial B

    Initial B Member

    Jan 29, 2014
    Club:
    Ottawa Fury
    They don't need to go to a rotating schedule until the league hits 36 teams. I foresee a 34 game schedule with home-and-away matches against every team in the division (6) and one alternating home or away game every year against every other club in the league (28).
     
  5. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    You're probably right, that is likely path. But I think MLS has the chance and audience to try something different. Playing 26 clubs once, home or away, doesn't give you a sense of a true best at the the top of the table at end of the season, as home field is a huge advantage. While playoffs do take care of that, to some extent, it does diminish the regular season. I think creating two supporter shield like championships, east and west, can elevate the regular season. But I would be more likley to put money on your solution than mine.
     
  6. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS West
    1. LAFC
    2. Los Angeles Galaxy
    3. FC Dallas
    4. Houston Dynamo
    5. Sporting Kansas City
    6. Minnesota United
    7. Seattle Sounders
    8. Portland Timbers
    9. Vancouver Whitecaps
    10. San Jose Earthquakes
    11. Colorado Rapids
    12. Real Salt Lake
    13. Austin FC
    14. Saint Louis*
    15. Sacramento Republic*
    Alternatives: Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, San Antonio
    Dark Horses: LA/Riverside, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, El Paso, Omaha, Fresno

    East
    1. Atlanta United
    2. Orlando City
    3. Chicago Fire
    4. Columbus Crew
    5. Toronto FC
    6. Montreal Impact
    7. New England Revolution
    8. FC Cincinnati
    9. New York Red bulls
    10. New York City FC
    11. DC United
    12. Philadelphia Union
    13. Inter Miami
    14. Nashville SC
    15. Charlotte*
    Alternates: Raleigh, Detroit, Indianapolis, Dark Horses: Milwaukee, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Birmingham, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Ottawa, Memphis, Hartford, NY/Long Island, Providence/Boston

    Honestly, it’s probably going to happen where East and West don’t face each other except in the playoffs and open cup.

    With 15 teams, playing home/away, that’ll give 28 games. Although, I’m sure it’ll be 32 teams, with 30 games.

    If it were me too, I’d restructure the open cup to be a 6 week tournament that starts play in June.

    Group A
    LA Galaxy
    New York Red Bulls
    DC United
    Guest: New Mexico United

    Group B
    Atlanta United
    Nashville SC
    Charlotte
    guest: Tampa Bay Rowdies

    Group C
    New England Revolution
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Sacramento Republic
    Guest: Indy Eleven

    Group D
    Columbus Crew
    Chicago Fire
    Minnesota United
    FC Cincinnati

    Group E
    Los Angeles FC
    New York City FC
    Orlando City SC
    Inter Miami CF

    Group F
    Colorado Rapids
    Real Salt Lake
    Saint Louis
    Sporting Kansas City

    Group G
    Portland Timbers
    Seattle Sounders
    Philadelphia Union
    Guest: Louisville City FC

    Group H
    FC Dallas
    Houston Dynamo
    Austin FC
    Guest: Charleston Battery
     
  7. ElNaranja

    ElNaranja Member

    Houston Dynamo
    United States
    Jul 16, 2017
    How can it be the Open Cup if it isn't open to all teams?
     
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  8. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    It can't be. It's also really tough on small clubs to condense the schedule, i'd think. But the final rounds could be set up as a six week end of the tourney.
     
  9. AlbertCamus

    AlbertCamus Member+

    Colorado Rapids
    Sep 2, 2005
    Colorado, USA
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    I always hate these type of proposals because somebody in the middle of the country, say the Colorado Rapids and Sporting KC, who are near neighbors are never going to play each other. Plus, while the Rapids are useless, I want to at least know that I'm going to get to see Wayne Rooney or a good eastern team like Atlanta every other year.
     
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  10. DCW531

    DCW531 Member

    Jan 31, 2017
    Which shows just how big the U.S. is when you are considering KC & Denver "near" neighbors 600 miles or so apart.

    As a STL fan, I'd rather us be in the east, where 4 teams would be within about 400 miles (CHI, COL, CIN, NASH), in the west our two closet would be KC @ 250 and MIN @ about 500.
     
  11. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Yeah, Stl in the East? Not gonna happen.
    One of the factors pushing Stl forward is SKC wanting a rivalry game, and the Denver thing doesn't quite cut it. I know, Stl considers Chicago a natural rival, as well, but KC is kind of obsessed by their geographical isolation. They probably have Buddy Biancalana ads already in the can hyping the someday I-70 matchups.
    Sheesh, uppity fans, wanting what they want.
    I know the other sports have gone the other way, but they've also split the NY and LA teams into different conferences, and MLS loves the derby idea. The closest thing to a derby for Stl is KC (and vice versa), and they both will be, technically if you count team offices and not stadia, in Missouri. If they can't force that one, MLS will be stuck trying to create an Austin-KC derby.
    But yeah, 600 miles is a lot more separation than Berlin-Munich, and there is no concept of Bayern being a local game, or even a rival game, or, really, of playing the same game by the same rules. Denver to KC is, btw, almost exactly Berlin to Paris, though that rivalry is bit more intense, a bit older and a lot bloodier.
     
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  12. DCW531

    DCW531 Member

    Jan 31, 2017
    Didn't say it would, just stating my preference, and given we don't have a team, my preference means exactly zero.:) Besides, STL teams have traditionally been Central or Eastern teams. The only Pro team that played west was the Rams when they were here. The Blues, while playing in the western conference, are in the central division.

    Heaven help us if MLS awards a team based on what SKC wants.... As a lifelong resident of the STL metro area, i can tell you most everyone here does not consider KC as any kind of rival, as we don't really play them in any other sport. MLB forces the inter-league play, but nobody here gets too excited about it. KC has no hockey, we have no football. We consider Chicago a rival because they are, same divisions in both baseball & hockey. Card vs. Cubs has about 2400 games, and 120 yrs of history. Blues Blackhawks about 50 years.

    The separation of teams in LA & NY is due to rival leagues merging in the past. But yes, they have been kept in separate leagues/conference/division for the most part.

    Nobody i know could tell you where, or probably cares where SKC offices are. But yes, SKC would be the closest team to a hypothetical STL team, per google city to city KC is 247 miles. Chicago 297, Nash 309.
    STL v KC might have some heat at first, don't know how long it would last, or how long it would take to grow into a "real" rivalry like we have with Cards/Cubs or Blues/Hawks. I think if MLS tries to force it, they will definitely need to have KC-Austin ready as a back-up plan.

    Bottom line is, First get a team for STL, and Second, let us silly fans figure out the rivalry thing.
     
  13. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Haha. Good one. Fans figuring out a rivalry in MLS. You're assigned a rival, for the Sunday broadcast. I don't know if SKC fans need a Stl rivalry, but management and esp MLS HQ want one, as SKC is a pretty annoying outlier for said Sunday rivalry broadcasts.
     
  14. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Can I introduce you to the Rocky Mountain Cup?
     
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  15. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Every MLB team is given an interleague rival. For 16 of the 30 teams, there are natural rivals:

    New York Yankees vs. New York Mets
    Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs
    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
    Oakland vs. San Francisco
    Kansas City vs. St. Louis
    Tampa Bay vs. Miami
    Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
    Baltimore vs. Washington

    The non-natural rivals are:

    Boston vs. Philadelphia
    Toronto vs. Atlanta
    Houston vs. Colorado
    Texas vs. Arizona
    Seattle vs. San Diego
    Pittsburgh vs. Detroit
    Minnesota vs. Milwaukee

    In some cases, more than one AL team have their nearest NL team the same or vice versa. For example, the Yankees and Red Sox have the nearest NL team as the Mets, and the Brewers and Cubs have the nearest AL team as the White Sox. Sometimes rivals play Monday through Thursday with each team hosting two games. When the rivals aren't natural, they can rotate. I thought Texas's rival was always Arizona (starting from when Houston moved to the AL to make 15 teams in each league), but I saw that Texas has also had their rival be Colorado and San Diego. In 2013, Texas and Arizona decided to play a doubleheader on Monday and have Tuesday off to fly from Arizona to Texas. Ironically, they got consecutive days off because the game that was supposed to be Wednesday in Texas got rained out. From July 31 through August 2, Arizona had to play three consecutive nights in Tampa Bay, Texas (making up the rainout), and Boston.
     
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  16. LouCityFan

    LouCityFan Member

    Louisville City FC
    United States
    May 25, 2019
    Louisville, KY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If Las Vegas, San Diego, or Phoenix is #30:

    Western
    Northwest - VAN, SEA, POR, RSL, CO
    Southwest - SAC, SJ, LAFC, LAG, Team 30
    Midwest - AUS, DAL, HOU, SKC, MN

    Eastern
    Northeast - NYC, NYRB, NE, DC, PHI
    Atlantic - TOR, MTL, ATL, MIA, ORL
    Central - CHI, STL, NSH, CIN, CLB

    Play your division foes twice (8 games), everyone else once (25 games), and then a conference foe outside your division for the 34th game - except Sporting Kansas City plays Saint Louis. This is actually due to a mathematical constraint as 15 teams can't play 19 games against each other.

    I would actually go to 36 games in this alignment. You could then have a 16th non-conference game for everyone, which could be used to preserve the STL/SKC return game (or STL/CHI depending on your alignment). Everyone would then have 12 conference games outside your division, which makes it more equitable for everyone.

    If you prefer Charlotte, Raleigh, or Tampa Bay:

    Western
    Pacific - VAN, SEA, POR, SAC, SJ
    Southwest - LAG, LAFC, AUS, DAL, HOU
    Northwest - RSL, CO, STL, SKC, MN

    Eastern
    Atlantic - NYC, NYRB, NE, DC, PHI
    Southeast - NSH, ATL, MIA, ORL, Team 30
    Northeast - CHI, CIN, CLB, TOR, MTL

    If you prefer Detroit, Indianapolis, or Louisville:

    Western
    Pacific - VAN, SEA, POR, SAC, SJ
    Southwest - LAG, LAFC, AUS, DAL, HOU
    Northwest - RSL, CO, STL, SKC, MN

    Eastern
    Northeast - NYC, NYRB, NE, DC, PHI
    Atlantic - ATL, MIA, ORL, TOR, MTL
    Central - CHI, CIN, CLB, NSH, Team 30
     
  17. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Except at 35 half the teams get an extra home game while half get stuck with an extra road game.
     
  18. LouCityFan

    LouCityFan Member

    Louisville City FC
    United States
    May 25, 2019
    Louisville, KY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Read the whole paragraph. Teams would have 16 non-conference games (8 home, 8 away), 12 in the conference outside their division (6 home, 6 away), and 8 in their division (4 home, 4 away).
     
  19. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Odd, I would have sworn you had said 35, not 36, games.
     
  20. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You already have 1 game against everybody and another STL/SKC game, so you let each of them host the other with 34 games.

    I'm not saying there's a better way, but TOR would have three of their four division opponents in the southeast. Would ATL, ORL, and MIA be the Eastern teams farthest from Toronto? When the NHL had six divisions of five, Boston was in the same division as Toronto and Buffalo, but not in the same division as the New York City area teams.
     
  21. LouCityFan

    LouCityFan Member

    Louisville City FC
    United States
    May 25, 2019
    Louisville, KY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I just don't see the league splitting up DC United and the Red Bulls. What the league really needs is four conferences, which would allow all 7 northeastern teams to be together.

    Don Garber has also said Charlotte's bid has moved to the "front of the line" which likely means we'll have a Southeast Division with Nashville and Charlotte. Chicago would get the two Ohio teams and either DC/Philly or Toronto/Montreal.
     
  22. STR1

    STR1 Member+

    Atlanta United
    May 29, 2010
    McAllen, TX
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We really are going the NFL route aren't we? Two conference league is just fine.
     
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  23. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Four divisions would be half as many as the NFL.

    If you have 30 clubs and want a balanced or almost balanced schedule within each conference or division, you need more than two. With two conferences of 15, playing every conference opponent twice and every club in the other conference once would need an impossible 43 games. Playing every conference opponent twice and 34 games would mean 6 against the other conference, so with an even rotation each club would host each club in the other conference every five years. With three conference of 10, playing every conference opponent twice and every club in the other two conferences once would need 38 games. Since 30 isn't a multiple of 4, it doesn't work great to make four divisions.
     
  24. SteveUSSF_ref8

    United States
    Oct 25, 2010
    Sun City, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #24 SteveUSSF_ref8, Nov 21, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
    When the expansion gets to 30 clubs, they would be best to re-align into three conferences (no divisions) of 10 clubs and expand the schedule to 38 games. This makes scheduling very simple with playing all clubs within their conference twice, one home, one away for 18 matches. Then play both other conferences each club once for 20 matches, for a total of 38 matches.

    In addition, I would award conference championships based on in-season record giving conference champions a first round bye for the MLS Cup playoff tournament.

    Assuming that club 30 is Carolina, my proposed alignment would be:

    EASTERN: Carolina, DC United, Miami, Montreal, New England, NYCFC, RBNY, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto

    CENTRAL: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Nashville, St. Louis

    WESTERN: Colorado, LA Galaxy, LAFC, Minnesota, Portland, RSL, Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver.
     
  25. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I doubt there will ever be a 38 game season. MLS plays the regular season for fewer months and with longer travel than the European leagues that play 38 games. I don't know how many playoff clubs you want. Are you proposing about a three club playoff with the top club getting a bye? Are you proposing a nine club playoff with 2 vs. 3 in each conference and the winner playing 1? If so, you can't have one champion without giving one club a bye to the Final or playing a round-robin group where fans would complain if the title was decided on goal differential.
     

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