MLS Steps Closer To Single Table

MLS Steps Closer To Single Table

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 22, 2008
  • 10 Comments
  • Don Garber, Single Table, State of the League Address

Don Garber laid out the future of the league. (MLS)

Deep in the heart of the Commissioner’s State of the League address yesterday evening was a little mention of what could be to come, the always popular single table format. With the league expanding and the increased demand for the concept, the league should be taking a serious look at it for the 2010 season or at least the 2011 season.

Next year the league will see 15 clubs total with the addition of Seattle. The clubs will continue to play a home and away format with all other clubs and will play additional games with rivals. In 2010 Philadelphia enters the picture and will bring a true home and away format for a 30 game slate (15 home and 15 away games for each club).

Also the discussion of the playoff format may being us closer to the single table structure in 2010. Next year the top two in each conference receive an auto bid with the next best four going into the playoffs (like what was done in 2007). With that kind of adjustment it should be easy to move to a single table for the playoffs and have just the best eight enter the post season that following year.

We’ve screamed for this format for a long and I believe it may finally come true then. The thing is the league and Commissioner seem to love the idea of conferences and the playoffs.

“We believe in the playoffs,” said Garber. “And as much as many of you sitting around — particularly those that are writing blogs — don’t believe in the playoffs as much as we do, we believe that perhaps the most exciting part of our season has been the last couple of weeks.”

I think Garber was a little off base with that comment as at least some bloggers like myself don’t mind the playoffs. They already reward the best team from the regular season with the Supporter’s Shield (and it’s importance has grown even more so now with the CCL). Playoffs are a part of the American sports landscape and we won’t see that go away at all.

The only thing with the playoffs that I don’t like is the format. If you are going to do one round with a home and away series you should do it throughout or not at all. It makes little sense for the opening round to be in that format with the conference finals and MLS Cup as a single knockout game.

That’s my beef with the playoffs Mr. Garber. Hopefully moving to a single table in the near future will help get the best quality teams in the playoffs each year. I think we all know that it will continue to happen as the league expands. The more clubs in the league means the tougher it will become to reach the second season and it will mean the more demand for the single table.

The conference set up was used early on for various reasons but I think it is a good time to get rid of those conferences and just focus on the single table. We do it already for the Supporter’s Shield and qualifications into various tournaments each year.

The writing is on the way for it and I may just be preaching to the choir here. I really do believe we will see the format come to life in a couple years. The league already wised up on its qualifications for SuperLiga and CCL so why not this?

  • TheUltra

    Actually the league doesn't provide any trophy to the regular season champ. The supporters shield is a trophy that is given out by and was created by the supporters groups. The league has slowly accepted the trophy more and more but it is not something that is run by the league.

  • Sounder at Heart

    Single table won't last, because it can't with expansion.<br />
    <br />
    But you are right, the increase in Wild Cards is necessary, and the Conference Championships are useless.<br />
    <br />
    I would go H/A for every rounds, but in the same week and have the Final a one off Event still.

  • Actually the league doesn’t provide any trophy to the regular season champ. The supporters shield is a trophy that is given out by and was created by the supporters groups. The league has slowly accepted the trophy more and more but it is not something that is run by the league.

  • Single table won’t last, because it can’t with expansion.

    But you are right, the increase in Wild Cards is necessary, and the Conference Championships are useless.

    I would go H/A for every rounds, but in the same week and have the Final a one off Event still.

  • drefooty

    The league system that works well for soccer is already outlined successfully in England for better than 100 years. Single table, promotion/relegation, domestic and club international Cup competitions. It's amazing to me, that the MLS is still knocking around in the dark trying to find a formula for success that has been there all the time. Amazing…..

  • drefooty

    The league system that works well for soccer is already outlined successfully in England for better than 100 years. Single table, promotion/relegation, domestic and club international Cup competitions. It’s amazing to me, that the MLS is still knocking around in the dark trying to find a formula for success that has been there all the time. Amazing…..

  • Sounder at Heart

    drefooty, do you have 40M$ to spend on expansion and 150M$ to spend on a stadium so that your team could play in the USL?<br />
    <br />
    As for the single table, how do you think single table will work for a summer league that will have more than 24 teams?<br />
    <br />
    You also seem to object to the MLS Cup, and yet I bet you follow the FA Cup and Carling Cup, which are pretty dang close to the same thing.<br />
    <br />
    The game is not organized the same way in every nation, nor should it be.

  • drefooty, do you have 40M$ to spend on expansion and 150M$ to spend on a stadium so that your team could play in the USL?

    As for the single table, how do you think single table will work for a summer league that will have more than 24 teams?

    You also seem to object to the MLS Cup, and yet I bet you follow the FA Cup and Carling Cup, which are pretty dang close to the same thing.

    The game is not organized the same way in every nation, nor should it be.

  • CMcAfee

    I agree with Sounder. I do not understand how people can seriously think that a relegation system would work in the US soccer scene of today. And why on earth would anybody want to model a league off the EPL, where only four teams really have any chance? Exciting.

  • CMcAfee

    I agree with Sounder. I do not understand how people can seriously think that a relegation system would work in the US soccer scene of today. And why on earth would anybody want to model a league off the EPL, where only four teams really have any chance? Exciting.