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

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

  1. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree. The schedule should be done based on what is known, not guesses about how clubs will be and what clubs will have the biggest differences between home and road performance. As long as the Red Bulls and NYCFC play each opponent the same amount of times, have half of their games at home, and have relatively equal total travel distance, I won't complain about which clubs the Red Bulls hosted and which clubs NYCFC hosted. You brought up injuries. What would be a bigger deal is if another club in the division had a star get injured, return from injury, join the club, or leave the club, and NYCFC got both games while the opponent was worse and the Red Bulls got both games while the opponent was better. If a star is traded from Club A to Club B that made the Red Bulls face the star before and after the trade and NYCFC never have to face the star, that would also make NYCFC's schedule easier.
     
  2. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    For scheduling purposes, wouldn't it be better to have both LA teams and both NY teams play in the same place over two (back to back) weekends? Or even a Saturday Wednesday setup? Call it something idiotic, but it would cut down on at least one cross country trip
    You are correct, nothing is ever like for like. But I'm not sure the way to deal with that is by building inequity in the schedule, and in MLS home > away.
    As I've said, I favor a two league, with home and away intra league and limited interleague play, setup, as with baseball. Club play everyone within their league twice, so the standings are the fairest reflection of quality within the groups, cuts down quite a bit on travel. gives the league both the european league flavor, and increases the tension for the US style playoff champions.
    But if the league is not heading that way at 30 sides and beyond, adjustments have to be made to maintain structural parity. Not talking about talent or coaches, but just the way the league is setup. It has to look like a level playing field. This is the beauty of a Euro system, every club faces the exact same schedule. From there inequity reigns, of course.
     
  3. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If both LA clubs went to both NY clubs (or vice-versa), that would make sense, and NCAA conferences do that with travel partners. The clubs would probably prefer Saturday and Wednesday so they didn't have to be away and pay for hotels for over a week, although it could be tough to play Saturday and Wednesday away, fly home, and play Saturday or Sunday, so it could be useful to give the clubs the weekend off after that.
     
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  4. KCbus

    KCbus Moderator
    Staff Member

    United States
    Nov 26, 2000
    Reynoldsburg, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is something I've advocated for for a while.

    Hell, you could do it for a three-game setup as well. Teams occasionally play Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday(or Sunday) as it is. Making only one cross-country flight would be beneficial for everyone involved. A team from the East could do LA-LA-SJ, or the Cascadia three-step. A team from the West could do NY-NY-NE, or Chicago-Cincinnati-Columbus.
     
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  5. Initial B

    Initial B Member

    Jan 29, 2014
    Club:
    Ottawa Fury
    I think we need to get over this every team has to play every other. From the looks of this year's schedule, it looks like MLS is planning on sticking to a 34-game schedule without all the teams playing each other every year. I foresee a NBA-style 3-division, 2-Conference format with 5-6 teams per division and following NFL-style scheduling format:

    *Play two of three opposing Conference Division teams once per season, switching the fallow division every season (3 Season Cycle) for a total of 10-12 games per season.
    *Play in-Conference teams once per season, for a total of 10-12 games per season
    *Play remaining games against in-division teams (10-14 games), for 34 games total per season.
    *Play-offs still the same format.

    This would allow for expansion to continue up to 36 clubs in a 34-game season. Anything larger than that size feels unwieldy to me. The one problem I can see with this format is that if they put the two LA teams in the same division and mirror that in the east with the two NY teams, then every 3 years there will be no games between the two largest media markets. They could solve this by splitting one of these two pairs of teams between two different conferences, but that takes away from the local rivalries MLS wishes to encourage.
     
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  6. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Again this is the best way to do the 30 team schedule

    EAST
    -South- Atlanta United, Inter Miami, Orlando City, Nashville SC, Charlotte

    -Central- Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, FC Cincinnati, Columbus Crew, Minnesota United

    -North- DC United, Philadelphia Union, New York City FC, New York Red Bull, New England Revolution

    WEST
    -North- San Jose Earthquakes, Sacramento Republic, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps

    -Central- Sporting Kansas City, Chicago Fire, Saint Louis, Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids

    -South- LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Austin FC

    ...This keeps all the natural rivals together.
     
  7. TrueCrew

    TrueCrew Member+

    Dec 22, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    For me, this is fairly straightforward. MLS has already crossed the Rubicon on (not) playing everyone every year. I would love this to happen, but it is likely gone forever.

    And one can certainly quibble about my choices for which teams in which divisions. But I think the framework is sound and works for a larger league.

    Two 15 team Conferences with 2 Divisions in each conference, of 8 and 7 teams, respectively.

    Schedule.

    Plan A. Division foes once (14 or 12 games) + conference foes once (7 or 8 games) + one entire non-conference division once (7 or 8 games) = 28 games. 6 games left vs teams in the other non-conf division and/or 2nd games vs conference foes. Or a couple games could be determined by previous year's finish, like the NFL does (division winners have to play each other, etc).

    Plan B. Go to 36 games. Play the other conference once (15 games) + your division twice (14 or 12) plus the other division in conference once (7 or 8) = 36/35 games. The teams with 35 get and 2nd game vs a non-div conf foe or a non-conf foe.

    West:
    Pacific: LAG, LAFC, SJ, Sac, Sea, Port, Van
    Midwest: COL, RSL, SKC, STL, FCD, Hou, Austin, Minny.

    East:
    Atlantic: DC, NE, NYRB, NYFC, Philly, Orlando, Miami.

    Central: CLB, Cincy, Chicago, TFC, MTL, ATL, Nash, Cha.

    When you hit 32, just add teams/rearrange the divisions so each Div has 8.

    Even at 36 teams, you can keep playing the same basic schedule (Div×2 = 16, Other Div in Conf = 9, + 1 entire non-conf div = 9) while keeping the schedule at 34.
    The extra/2nd games vs non-divisional or non-conference teams just go away as you expand.

    If you go to 36+, then you need six divisions. 6+ teams each.
     
  8. TrueCrew

    TrueCrew Member+

    Dec 22, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, most of them. SJ/LA & Chicago/Columbus bite the dust. FCD/SKC.

    You don't really need 6 divisions until you get to 36 teams.

    And I would not get too hung up on optimal set ups for a 30 team league, they are not stopping at 30. That makes zero sense. 3-4 year pause, tops. When WC fever strikes again, they will cash in.
     
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  9. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    What we've seen is that MLS is trying to protect the home and away within conference scheduling, while it is sacrificing the notion of playing everyone out of conference, and certainly not playing home and away outside of conference. This year, you miss four clubs. That number is going to increase as the league grows. unless they abandon the idea of home and away (which they have shown no inclination to do). They've also passed the 24 mark and shown no inclination to move towards divisions within conferences. TrueCrew's idea of 8 and 7 divisions would work, but the league knows this expansion is coming and didn't set up four six teams at 24, or two 6 and two 7 at 26. It seems unlikely they'll go to four 7s next year. That's a massive change in the season competition and it would have made sense to have started that process last year (adding teams to existing divisions is simpler than creating them anew. My guess, if they are going to divisions within conferences, that will happen in 2021 at 28, and it will be announced at the All Star game halftime.
    But it seems they have been telegraphing their intent for a while now. They're pushing the supporter's shield narrative at the same time they're trying to increase playoff drama.
    Playing everyone is now gone, and won't be returning. I believe they showed their hand by not moving to divisions already, but will have made it crystal clear if they don't this season for 2021.
    Most likely, they're going towards the system I've been advocating since the league started growing towards the numbers we now see. Two conferences, home and away, limited intraleague play. Each conference will have a supporter's shield at stake, and they will be named for league luminaries, maybe Garber, Uncle Phil, Hunt, or Beckham or someone with a high profile.
    Now, the option for intra-league play could be x games against the other conference, or it could be x games against LigaMx clubs. If that is the case, they can set the league up in what is in effect a 3 conference manner, with the playoffs featuring four or five or six clubs from each of the east, west and Mexican conferences.
    Or they could keep the system as is, but not move off the 34 game MLS schedule so that they can building in more Liga Mx play.
    This increases the trophy haul, which owners love. This allows the league to gorw, which owners love. This raises the profile of the league in the region, which owners love.
    On the number of games, I have no clue if 34 is built into the new CBA or not, anyone know?
     
  10. AlbertCamus

    AlbertCamus Member+

    Colorado Rapids
    Sep 2, 2005
    Colorado, USA
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    What if Sporting KC,or the new St. Louis, is in the west and Chicago is in the east; Chicago would play clubs from Mexico but not St. Louis? I don't think so. Plus, you bring up an interesting point about the CBA, which complicates incorporating Mexico (not to mention if they want to be incorporated). MLS needs to limit the number of teams you don't play, and keep inter conference play for games like Chicago vs St. Louis, etc... and Vancouver vs Toronto/Montreal. Perhaps 3 divisions/conferences would work, with a single bracket play-offs. I want to see a Colorado vs. Dallas MLS Cup final again, but this time not in Toronto! (Though a Seattle v Portland final at one of their stadiums would also be fun for neutrals).
     
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  11. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    As I said, i think sny shift away from an East West alignment will have to be announced this July, in anticipation of 2021 when they'll have 28 clubs. I haven't seen any evidence of their heading in that direction in the years building to this point, so i suspect they will stick with two conferences, and to date, they've stuck with home and away in conference. This year was the first shoe to drop on not playing everyone, next year will either bring a new division setup, or be a bit worse (6) on teams not played, and with 30 that would fall to 8.
    The LigaMx stuff is guesswork based on what they keep saying and seem to be working towards. But I'd agree that it makes sense to play non conference clubs rather than LigaMx clubs.
     
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