play-off/cup format?

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by supa, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. supa

    supa New Member

    Mar 15, 2000
    united states
    after watching the cup final and comparing the play-off matches (in particular, the DC-NE match), i'm beginning to wonder if the play-off & cup structure should be changed.

    first of all, far too many teams qualify for the play-offs. even with 6 teams in each conference next year, 2/3rds of each conference will eligible to compete in the postseason under the current system. with so many teams able to participate in the play-offs, the regular season matches have little value or importance.

    secondly, after comparing the cup final with the eastern conf final, the cup final match was anemic in terms of crowd involvement. this was the most important match of the season, and yet judging by the crowd's energy, it resembled a mid-season meeting. plus, the match was NOT a sell-out despite freddy. yes, it would have been a sell-out if los angeles made it to the final, but unfortunately they didn't. who knows how much lower the attendence would have been if new england or columbus had played for the final instead of dc. in other words, if the local team isn't playing in the final, then there may not be a big CHEERING crowd.

    so, what to do? the league should restrict the teams that can qualify for the postseason to the top 2-3* teams in each conference. thus, regular season matches actually begin to matter and qualifying for the play-offs is an actual accomplishment rather than an accident. as for the final, a 2-game series with an aggregate goal system may be better than a single match played at a neutral stadium. a final home-away series would be played in front of the fans that care the most, crowd energy would be higher, and higher attendance would be more certain, which is not always guaranteed in a single match played in a neutral location.

    so, what are your thoughts?...

    *in case you were wondering how the play-offs would work with 3 teams in each conference: top-seeded team gets a bye; 2nd and 3rd seeded teams play a home-away/aggregate goal series. winner between 2nd/3rd seeds then plays top seeded team in home-away/aggregate goal series to become respective conference finalists.
  2. The Artist

    The Artist Member+

    Mar 22, 1999
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My thoughts and the thoughts of numerous others who both agree and disagree with your playoff changes can be found in several far-too-long threads on this topic already on the board.

    As far as changing the final to a home and home perhaps that will be a good idea some day but right now MLS is worried less about getting the most exciting atmosphere for the final and more about setting a date far in advance that will get them on network television and allow as much media as possible to make advance plans to attend the match. A nine year old league with a barely growing fan base does not have the luxury of making decisions solely on the basis of competition. Personally I like the one game final, but some day when all teams have control of their stadiums it might be nice to go ahead and give home field advantage to the team with the better record, thus making the Supporter's Shield a more noteworthy prize.

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