How to solve MLS playoffs – Aussie Rules Football offers an option

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Let's dig into this mess ...

Let’s dig into this mess …
Image: Getty Images

I know I know. There is nothing MLS fans hate more than someone who doesn’t regularly watch the way they do by telling them what’s wrong with their league. Even with mine more effort to watch, understand and develop an attachment to our national championship, I am still a long way from being a true “MLS fan”. And I’m still one of those who whenever he sees an MLS player in the USMNT lineup not named Miles Robinson, the drywall in my living room is likely to take some damage (I have a little patience for Walker Zimmerman. I’ve collected enough fights. with the good Nashville people of my hockey days).

And since I just wrote about the Decision Day drama, which is a direct extension of the MLS playoff system, I’m a hypocrite (and idiot) to try and change that. Colorado surprisingly took the top spot in the Western Conference and the goodbye that comes with it. RSL had a last minute winner to send the entire Los Angeles contingent home for the winter. Along with the various seeding equations that have been solved, it is difficult to argue against the idea that the current system works as intended.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems. One, it’s hard for fans to get too involved in “sowing”. Sure, getting a playoff game at home is better than not, and maybe that’s enough. But if you finish 2-4 or 5-7, it doesn’t make much difference.

Two, the byes that the best seeds get at every conference … that’s not really much of an advantage. It looks like one, but thanks to the MLS having to negotiate around the November international break, it can be a poisoned cup. That’s why they changed the playoff system a few years ago, to get around this break, breaking the playoffs and getting rid of the two-legged formats. Both Colorado and New England will have three weeks off before playing their first playoff game, which borders on rusting instead of rest. Some will say it gives them more time to heal their players from injuries in that national team break, and it’s probably worth considering … a little. But does it exceed the physical form of the lost game? Probably not.

I will give up the fight against football which is not really a playoff sport, especially a knockout sport. Games mean too much, teams get extremely cautious, bla bla bla, although this doesn’t always affect the MLS playoffs. They have tended to be a little bit crazy. I also recognize that for an American audience, this is what they are used to. Also, with no relegation, still not a thrill sense of excitement to make the CONCACAF Champions League, have a regular single table and round robin season, and declare a points winner would lead to around 25 teams playing the series in June. That will not work. And with 28 teams soon, figuring out a schedule is already a nightmare.

So I just want to reduce this to a simple change.

That is, in order for the lowest-scoring team in any playoff match to advance, they must beat the highest-scoring team. A draw goes to the home team, plain and simple (if you want to change it for the MLS Cup final, that’s fine, given its high status).

This causes the regular season to have more meaning. Grabbing the n. 2 seeds instead of settling for n. 3 acquires importance for a game in August or September, while otherwise it could be a bit trivial. The advantage in the house will really mean something, besides your fans and your beds and your routine, which is nothing, I give you, but it can also be over the top. It still allows for Cinderella’s upsets and racing, which we know the league loves and makes every fandom feel like a chance, but they should really be earned. No team that barely made it to the playoffs on the last day can simply make it to No. 2 seeded, and try to hold out for a draw and score a goal or go to penalties.

The downside, it is true, is that the top-seeded teams will feel compelled to be more careful, knowing that a 0-0 draw gets them through. Maybe it’s balanced by the fact that the lowest-seeded team has to try, but then an early goal from the highest-seeded team could really put an end to things. It is to be considered. But it’s probably the same motivation now, just reversed, and the goal here is to make the regular season more meaningful for more teams.

As for the top seeds, that ring rust isn’t that important if you just need to scrape together a draw after the huge break when you may be a little off the boil. You can keep the real powder dry for the bigger fights along the way. No longer a season ruined by a defensive error or an unrepeatable series of penalties by some even-racing in the first round. Perhaps the idea of ​​earning two draws to make it to the final will leave some fans indifferent, understandably, but that right will have been earned in seven months and 34 games.

Another method that would work quite well is the Australian R.calcium method, where the bye takes place not in the first round, but in the second. Basically, that would involve expanding the playoffs from seven to eight teams per conference, which, let’s face it, will happen pretty soon anyway. In the first round, n. 1 plays n. 4, and n. 2 plays n. 3 at the top of each bracket. The winners of those move on to the conference semifinal, while the losers go down to the lower half of the group where the no. 5 plays n. 8, and n. 6 plays n. 7, with the winners of those who hire those who lost from the top half. The winners there face the retired winners of the upper half of the group. Finishing in the upper half of the conference means you have a second chance or skip an entire round. It doesn’t make every seat mean anything, but getting in the top four of your conference carries a lot more weight.

The MLS hasn’t shown much interest in pondering the regular season more and seems to appreciate the chaotic nature of its playoffs (which are more like what people think the NHL playoffs are, but actually aren’t, as the chalk wins there more than you realize). But this year we take the East, New England ran away with it, and they are rewarded with a goodbye, but they also have to get through three weeks on the couch. Philadelphia, Nashville, NYCFC … basically everyone was waiting for the season to end and sharing the seeds with all the fury and passion of housework. The first system would give them something to chase to the end.

Anyway, I said my peace. Ill just sit down down and enjoy the stupidity next week like everyone else.

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