Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by kpaulson, Oct 30, 2007.
This seems dumb on the surface.
Well, DC didn't beat Chicago in THEIR home either; in fact, DC LOST.
And yet, Chicago did NOT lose in DC's home.
If (DC had tied in CHI and then tied in DC) or (lost by 1 in CHI & won by 1 in DC) and then lost in PKs, then I think your argument would have a foundation.
The postseason is time to step up and prove they were supposedly the best team (or at least better than the opposition). As a higher seed in an almost-level situation (I still think there is a slight advantage for the higher seed), should have advanced with their play, right? DC did not.
I'm not defending the playoff format, in and of itself. I actually wouldn't mind a change, given a little more advantage to the home team (1 game, 3 games, etc), but I don't see it is a travesty that Chicago won and DC lost. DC did not prove they were better.
I use what we have. Are you still confused by my answer or do in need to repost it. I also said i wouldn't change it unless the numbers trended to show a randomness. If the current numbers prove to be wrong and the variance to large, then maybe a slight alteration is needed. But switching to a god forksaken group stage or a rehash of past playoff failures ins't the answer.
As for seedining in 2007
we just had 1 higher seed fall. 3 more games to go. I predicted the DC upset, but had the other 3 advancing.
Using last night as an example: I am just trying to show that people will have problems with the format regardless.
Under Current Format: Chicago advance 3-2 agg
Under an Away Goals Format: Chicago advances 3-2 agg (DC would have had to score more 2 goals to win no tie possible)
Under FMF Rile: Chicago advances 3-2 agg (another goal and DC wins)
Under the three minor changes Chicago still advances.
Sometimes you can't stop an upset, and this series had upset written all over it from the start: A banged up team in poor late season form vs. a healthy team in late season form and a catolog of good history in the match up on their side. I dont know if any reasobable format would have saved DC.
The Mavs didn't cry foul when they failed to advance in the NBA last year. They got unlicky and had to play the hot team Denver. They lost and they had no one to blame but themselves. DC is in the same boat. They got outscored over two legs, end of story.You dont usually see people crying about the playoff format in other sports, why are soccer fans doing it?
DC got to play the team that finished 7th out of 13 teams, 15 points behind them in the table. The match up was unlucky for them, not an injustice. They got to play the deciding game at home, with all that support behind them, you can't tell me that wasn't a factor last night as they pushed for the comeback. They lost, straight up and the other minor adjustments people that are popular, like the FMF rule wouldn't have saved them last night.
If people want to talk about rewarding regular season success in an tangible manner i am fine with that, i think its needed, but just because DC lost i don't think we need to devise formats to help ensure they don't choke just for the sake of giving them a better advantage. Last night's game was fantastic, its what the post season should be.
Just because those fans or fans like them think is unfair DC bowed out as a #1 seed doesn't mean we should manufacure their advancement.
Bingo. Repped. Nail hit on head.
If it was the deciding game, and it ended 2-2, how come they didn't play overtime?
I know people of your ilk are gonna enjoy dancing on DC's grave, and go ahead, enjoy your fun. It's sports, not life and death.
But that was NOT the deciding game.
Exactly. DC needs to earn it on the field. Upsets are going to happen.
But to reiterate a point I've made, it begs the question of how big of an upset it is, in a sport like soccer, for one team to score one more goal over 180 minutes, with no home field advantage. If everyone had known the injury status of Emilio and Moreno, this series would have been considered a tossup, or even Chicago favored.
I think that's what's likely to get lost as people whine about the format. I don't like it, but I don't think this was a case of an inferior team beating a better team. Given the injuries, Chicago is as good as DC. So this wasn't really an example of a bad format leading to an upset.
Can't wait to read the sematical twisting you are going to use to defend that comment.
Other than that i agree with your other stuff.
So, given a previous score of 1-0, the score of that subsequent and final game did not decide the series?
All of the DC players knew they could perform a certain way in that game to decide the series, right?
Good stuff here though.
I know it feels like that, but I think there's a difference between looking at four matchups and sixteen.
Flukes do happen in soccer. And there might be something about being the number one seed that has made teams lose their edge through the years. But, when all of the higher seeds, taken together, do a lot better than all of the lower seeds, I guess I don't think it's a coincidence.
Joke. Since we're on BigSoccer, I know you have to assume that I was actually comparing the skill level of high school football to the NHL, but really, I wasn't. (I just like college hockey better, but that's another thread...)
Onion, I wasn't taking a swipe at you with my quip about the data. It was a swipe at both sides. I realize, after re-reading it, that it looked like a swipe at you. But my point is that we can't really take too much from the numbers, in defense of either argument, because the data is so limited, and the format so ever-changing. Some are saying the numbers are valuable, others are arguing that they aren't. The point was that they are both right, and both wrong, and it's just way to early to be definitive in either direction. Sorry if that didn't come across. (But, I do find it a bit silly for you to be so adamant about what the number "prove" when they are clearly too limited, at this point, to lend real support to either side of the argument. But, that's just my opinion.)
Last night's game was really quite fantastic. For me, it highlighted the POSITIVES of the current format. High drama, very intense. A just format for a team like DC? Perhaps not. But a joy to watch from a neutral perspective? Absolutely.
Still, if the league is going to stick with this general format, I'd love to see them go back to their original seeding idea:
1. Supporters' Shield
2. Other Conference Champion
3. Conference Runner-up with most points
4. Other Conference Runner-up
(Among the remaining teams, regardless of Conference)
5. Team with the most points
6. Team with the second most points
7. Team with the third most points
8. Team with the fourth most points
And then just go to a standard bracket. I love and defend the idea of Conferences in the regular season, but I'm not convinced it's necessary to maintain distinct Conference brackets for the post-season; especially with the new "wild card" format. This is the (relatively minor) adjustment I'd most like to see next season.
You are entitled to your opinion.
At the same time, if you are a fair person, you would feel others are entitled to their opinion aswell, right?
It's a somewhat commonly held idea that the regular season doesn't reward the better seeds sufficiently. Agree or disagree with that as you wish. Free country. But for the people that do hold this feeling, this game will feed their resolve on this topic.
The facts: DC finished first. Chicago eigth. Both are rewarded a home match. Slightest of slight advantage that DC had the second match at home so they knew what they had in front of them.
My post wasn't trying make a case in one way or the other. You decide for yourself. No arguments on your logic above. That's how you feel. I was just trying to talk from where one camp is coming from and possibly why the statistics don't seem to change their mind.
Those that feel differently though, those that think DC earned a bigger advantage than they recieved, might have come to a different conclusion. Hence the perception, rightly or wrongly, that the regular season isn't meaningful enough when it comes to tieing it to MLS Cup.
So would a BigTen conference help or hinder hockey?
Errr, wrong forum
(1) Agree completely about this series. This absolutely was not an upset. Chicago was an oddball 7th seed. It simply wasn't the same team that stumbled through the middle of the season. BY the end of the season, they were playing all of the league's best teams even. I don't think we'll see many turnarounds quite as dramatic as Chicago's. You might point to LA (if they had made it), but frankly, even during their winning streak, they weren't that great. They were a bad team that was due some decent results. Chicago is a great team that doesn't bear much relation to the team from the middle of the season.
(2) I think when you do have a 7 or 8 seed beat the 1 or 2 seed over the series, it really is an upset. That's again where the stats come in-- the higher seeds advance overwhelmingly, even without any discernable home field advantage.
(3) The home field advantage that there is (the overtime), only comes into play when you can win (generally at home, but if you steal away results, then you get it back). The game last night reminded me of what we hear in other sports when the lower seed steals home field by getting results away. But again, if we're comparing with other sports, the stats from MLB show that "home field advantage" in the playoffs isn't all it's cracked up to be. The higher seeds advance only a little better than 50% of the time. In the NFL, the higher seed advancement rate is slightly lower than MLS. In short, based on the info we have, I think the concept of "upset" does exist (at least over the two-game series).
Personally I couldn't stand the "original" (they mis-spoke a dozen times on this, and everyone filled in the blanks) seeding, because it contradicted with conferences. I thought they still should have done 4 & 4 from each conference....tough luck if you're in one conference or the other. It was all going to even out this next year or the following anyways. Everyone would still know where they had to finish from the start. Not a huge deal either way though.
Anyways, the whole point of my post was to state that with expansion (up to and past 20 teams in the future), the conferences will still likely be there, so no sense in abandoning them now.
If it deprived us of games with the Fighting Sioux or the UMD Bulldogs, absolutely not.
Yeah, the real question isn't whether higher seeds are rewarded-- I think, based on the best info we have and on purely competitive terms, they pretty clearly are-- the real question is whether fans and players will ever understand that they are rewarded.
If they don't understand the reward, then they won't be motivated by it.
No, don't get me wrong, I am (and always have been, and always will be) a huge supporter of Conferences. But I am also a supporter of the "wild card" format. I like it a lot. I just think, if you're going to use it, then conference brackets in the post season probably aren't necessary (for example, DC, the Shield Winner, should probably have played KC, the 8th playoff team, in the first round). I do not want to see conferences disappear from the regular season. But would be happy enough to see them disappear from the post-season.
And that gets back to the point I was trying to make. Do we want a measure of the best team at the end of the season, or a measure of the team that played the best on average over the course of the season, with a reasonable sample size? And I would argue that Chicago's win over DC doesn't prove that they're the better team, even at this point in the season. They may be, they may not be. The sample size is miniscule. That's not to say that you shouldn't have MLS Cup. But let's be honest about what it is - a nice little tournament held at the end of the MLS season.
Regarding the tendency for #1 seeds to falter, there could be a psychological factor at work.
The #1 seed psychology: "We're the #1 seed, we played great all season, playing the lowest seed, we can't blow it! It would be horrible!" This type of psychology could lead to a team playing "tight".
The lowest seed psychology: "Hey, we slipped in despite playing crappy for large parts of the season. We've got nothing to lose." This type of psychology could lead to a team playing relaxed, and willing to take chances.
That game last night wasn't really an upset. Chicago had been a team on the upswing over the past month, while DC was in a holding pattern. In fact, the injuries to Emilio and Moreno meant DC was way out of their groove.
So the MLS playoffs are really an indication of who's better RIGHT NOW. The Supporter's Shield is the trophy to the team with the best record over the whole season. And DC won that, and they get all the rewards that come from that (Concacaf Champions Cup, etc.). Let's be honest, the MLS playoffs are a bit of a free-for-all. Once you get in, anything can happen. This is soccer after all. A bad refs call, a couple of injuries, or just plain bad luck can carry the day.
Didn't West Ham win the season series with both Manchester United and Arsenal last season (won both home and away matches 1-0 in both series). Did that mean West Ham was a better team than ManU or Arsenal? No. In fact, West Ham was extremely lucky not to be relegated. That's a little bit how I think of the MLS playoffs. Its really no indication of who the better team is. And quite frankly, that's fine. We've got the Supporter's Shield every year to tell us who the best team over the course of the season was. The MLS playoffs tell you who the hot team was at the end of the season.
I agree pretty much with all of that. The MLS playoffs are (obviously) a measurement of who's the best team at the end of the season. But unfortunately, it's by nature a bad measurement, due to lack of anything resembling statistical significance and all the random factors that you list that can affect a single match. But there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. It's a fun tournament, and do-or-die games can be very exciting, as last night's match showed.
i actually agree with superdave here.
the key word is "game".
there aren't two "games" in a 180-minute total goals series. nothing was decided in and of itself in that final 90 minute "game."
DC lost the first half (of the 180 minute series) and managed a draw in the second half (of the 180 minute series).
the argument can be made that the "deciding" game (or half of the series) was the "game/half" that Chicago hosted.
my contention with the H/A series is that there is no real (built-in, guaranteed) home-field advantage at all.
the only time home-field advantage comes into play in the first round is if the teams are level on the scoreboard after 180 minutes of soccer (and of those 180 minutes, 90 minutes of HF advantage as been given to each team, regardless of their seeding).
to answer the question of this theard ("what do we really want out of home field advantage?"), i certainly would like to see a playoff system that does indeed offer some real and significant home-field advantage (and i'm not just saying that because by local team hasn't advanced to MLS Cup in 4 years.)
i like this other thread, which discusses and option that provides for a significant home-field playoff advantage, -- https://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=613858
Well, I think the tendency of most fans is to want the regular season to influence the post-season. A lot of folks around here seem genuinely upset because they don't see enough of a connection between regular season success and playoff "perks".
That's why the question of what we really want out of HF seemed interesting to me: we're already getting a lot out of the seeding system. Do we really want more?
But your post goes a little bigger even: what does it mean to be a champion. My opinion is that the champion should be the best team at the end of the season, but that there's no way to weed out flukey results unless you basically play another regular season...
I think it could also be that they've been slacking for a month by the time that the playoffs come around. It's hard to turn it on after you've turned it off.
i don't agree with the the statement that "we're already getting a lot out of the seeding system".
in the first round, HF advantage looks to me to only come into play if the teams have played to an even scoreline after 180 minutes of soccer. (and of those 180 minutes, 90 minutes of HF advantage as been given to each team, regardless of their seeding).
i think i would like to see some "more HF" advantage (based on seeding) added to the first round of the playoff system.
or group stage like the SuperLiga used.
great points. the higher seeds being able to somewhat "coast" at the end of the regular season (and still hold on to their top seed) is all the more reason to really add some significant form of true HF advantage to the post-season.
The very idea of home-field advantage is not meant to mean that, because a team is at home, they should be given some special consideration or help. Home-field advantage is exactly as it sounds. The advanage comes from playing at home, on a familiar pitch, in front of supportive fans. It's the same around the world.
I think home-field advantage definitely helped DC United last night to fight back. It worked exactly as it was supposed to. The only thing that didn't work was DC United for 3 minutes in the first half. That's life and that's what is great about the playoffs. DC United had their advantage. They just didn't take advantage of it until it was too late.
And I believe you're absolutely correct.
But I don't believe two legs was invented to give either team a home-field advantage. In fact, without consulting an English (if they came up with it) football historian, I'm guessing the two legged system currently used in the CL and UEFA Cup and other places specifically was chosen to sort of negate the home field advantage, or at least minimize it. Because, as I mentioned earlier, if you have a team from London and a team from Prague, how do you really know who "deserves" home field advantage? You don't know. But teams in a league system that play each other several times (and the rest of the league)? One team has earned home field advantage (at least to our way of reckoning in the States).
Right. And that is seen by some as an advantage, but it's really kind of ethreal. In USL, I believe you can choose which leg to host if you're the higher seed (at least, you used to be able to). Some coaches feel it's to their advantage to get home field in the first game and potentially win that to put the pressure on the other team. Others (and many fans) feel like if you open on the road, you come home "knowing exactly what you need to do" (as if you don't know what the hell you need to do at the start of the 180 minute tie).
Problem is, that leads to coaches determining in advance "exactly what they're going to have to do" in the return leg by bunkering and playing for a 0-0 draw so they only have to outscore the opposition, at home, or win in OT or PKs to advance. And that leads us to some really unattractive soccer in the first legs.
And I agree with you there, too (sign of the Apocalypse, I know). No one can agree on what options offer a significant (but not prohibitive) home-field advantage in a system that offers the economic benefits currently believed to be available.
I have never understood, and would like to try to ask someone sometime, what the thinking was behind not using away goals as a tiebreaker. Chicago would have been comfortably ahead last night, even to the death. Whether that would have deprived us of the drama of the last 20 minutes of that game (which were sweet) or not, I don't know for sure. Maybe.
But it seems to me that that's a good rule, and that if Chicago scored two road goals and DC scored none, that's a decent tiebreaker. By the same token, the Mexican tiebreaker would have had DC advancing by tying it on Gomez' disallowed goal, as they were the higher seed.
I did, however, enjoy Wynalda's comment as it got late that "This is the best part about the playoffs."
Too bad he wasn't a guest on Fox Football Fone In.