MLS To Revamp Playoffs?

MLS To Revamp Playoffs?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 27, 2009
  • 16 Comments
  • Board of Governors, MLS Cup Playoffs

Just saw this news from Pitchinvasion this morning. Turns out this week’s board of governors meeting won’t just speak on expansion news. Looks like playoff talk is going to be on the menu as well.

Here’s the new proposal:

  • The top four teams in each conference would qualify for the playoffs, with the first stage now a round robin setup in two groups of four
  • Each match in the group stage would be played at the home venue of the highest seeded team based on regular season performance — so the regular season winner would have three home games and no away games
  • The top two from each group would qualify for the semi-finals
  • Semi-finals would be one match, with again the highest seeded team from the regular season hosting
  • The final would be hosted not at a neutral venue as in the past, but at the home of the highest seeded team

A lot of people have been wanting the MLS Cup at a non-natural site for a couple years now. This now means winning that Supporter’s Shield each year would mean just that much more for each club making the regular season even more important.

What do you all make of this idea?

  • Nick

    The idea of a round robin is a terrible idea. <br />
    <br />
    The potential for not having a single home game and traveling 3-5 straight weeks in a row for games will be completely shut down by the owners (and fans). <br />
    <br />
    And then, if the playoffs started today, you would have a team like Columbus potentially playing in cold weather 4-5 times in a row. <br />
    <br />
    Until the league gets more popular you can't expect the casual fan to show up to an MLS game 5 weeks in a row in in the Northeast or Midwest in November. <br />
    <br />
    If you have to change anything, add one game to the conference final and make that a home/away. Then play the final game in the higher seeded city. <br />
    <br />
    Then you're only adding one game to the schedule, you lessen the chance of bad weather during games, and you're rewarding the regular season success. Everyone is happy.

  • KCB

    Don't like the round robin.<br />
    Like the non-neutral field for the final.<br />
    Don't like conferences. As soon as the MLS schedule and number of clubs balances out so everyone plays everyone twice, MLS needs a single table format.

  • Brian

    Semi-final needs to be 2-legs

  • Herb Staben

    I agree with Nick. Don't punish the fans. Make the semi-finals a home/away series and host the game in the higher seeded team's city. Perhaps host in a neutral venue in the host city. For example, Soldier Field in Chicago instead of Toyota Park.

  • steve

    I love this idea! People have been clamoring for years to make the Supporters shield more important while giving higher seeds a real leg up in the playoffs. This proposal would seriously reward the better teams in MLS – both competitively and financially during the postseason. It also aligns the MLS playoff structure with other international competitions such as the world cup, confed cup, Euros, libertadores, etc. by staging a round robin. DO IT NOW!!!

  • Nick

    The idea of a round robin is a terrible idea.

    The potential for not having a single home game and traveling 3-5 straight weeks in a row for games will be completely shut down by the owners (and fans).

    And then, if the playoffs started today, you would have a team like Columbus potentially playing in cold weather 4-5 times in a row.

    Until the league gets more popular you can’t expect the casual fan to show up to an MLS game 5 weeks in a row in in the Northeast or Midwest in November.

    If you have to change anything, add one game to the conference final and make that a home/away. Then play the final game in the higher seeded city.

    Then you’re only adding one game to the schedule, you lessen the chance of bad weather during games, and you’re rewarding the regular season success. Everyone is happy.

  • Kevin

    BOOOOOOO!!!!! I like the attempts at making the Supporter's Shield actually meaningful (other than for Champions League qualification), but this is really just an awful idea. It doesn't make much sense at all.

  • Vnice

    I just wrote and submitted an article to Matchfitusa on this very subject. Hopefully, it will go up today. <br />
    <br />
    I believe the semis and finals should be home and away, two leg series, among other things.<br />
    <br />
    I am also adamantly opposed to 8 teams. 6, maybe…4 preferable.

  • KCB

    Don’t like the round robin.
    Like the non-neutral field for the final.
    Don’t like conferences. As soon as the MLS schedule and number of clubs balances out so everyone plays everyone twice, MLS needs a single table format.

  • Brian

    Semi-final needs to be 2-legs

  • Herb Staben

    I agree with Nick. Don’t punish the fans. Make the semi-finals a home/away series and host the game in the higher seeded team’s city. Perhaps host in a neutral venue in the host city. For example, Soldier Field in Chicago instead of Toyota Park.

  • Tim

    How is MLS ever going to convert or attract American fans of the European and South American top flight leagues? Conferences are a stupid, stupid carryover from other American major league sports and, in some cases, the antithesis of soccer fandom is all about. Why do I give a crap about the regular season when pretty much everyone makes it to the friggin playoffs? Why do we feel we have to create our own formula when most of the rest of the soccer world has a pretty consistent model than has proven successful for 130+ years? We need:<br />
    1) Single league table — conferences are absurd<br />
    2) League championship for the team scoring the most regular season points<br />
    3) Keep the Open Cup if you want an FA Cup type competition<br />
    4) RELEGATION!!! Give even Red Bulls fans a reason to give a crap about mediocrity — I'm with a little creativity something could be worked out with USL 1 and 2<br />
    5) Ease up on salary caps — they still make sense given the state of the league and soccer in the USA — but the fact that we have some people still making $12-17K means our best and brightest and up and comers have more incentive to go abroad and play for a 3rd tier team

  • steve

    I love this idea! People have been clamoring for years to make the Supporters shield more important while giving higher seeds a real leg up in the playoffs. This proposal would seriously reward the better teams in MLS – both competitively and financially during the postseason. It also aligns the MLS playoff structure with other international competitions such as the world cup, confed cup, Euros, libertadores, etc. by staging a round robin. DO IT NOW!!!

  • Kevin

    BOOOOOOO!!!!! I like the attempts at making the Supporter’s Shield actually meaningful (other than for Champions League qualification), but this is really just an awful idea. It doesn’t make much sense at all.

  • Vnice

    I just wrote and submitted an article to Matchfitusa on this very subject. Hopefully, it will go up today.

    I believe the semis and finals should be home and away, two leg series, among other things.

    I am also adamantly opposed to 8 teams. 6, maybe…4 preferable.

  • Tim

    How is MLS ever going to convert or attract American fans of the European and South American top flight leagues? Conferences are a stupid, stupid carryover from other American major league sports and, in some cases, the antithesis of soccer fandom is all about. Why do I give a crap about the regular season when pretty much everyone makes it to the friggin playoffs? Why do we feel we have to create our own formula when most of the rest of the soccer world has a pretty consistent model than has proven successful for 130+ years? We need:
    1) Single league table — conferences are absurd
    2) League championship for the team scoring the most regular season points
    3) Keep the Open Cup if you want an FA Cup type competition
    4) RELEGATION!!! Give even Red Bulls fans a reason to give a crap about mediocrity — I’m with a little creativity something could be worked out with USL 1 and 2
    5) Ease up on salary caps — they still make sense given the state of the league and soccer in the USA — but the fact that we have some people still making $12-17K means our best and brightest and up and comers have more incentive to go abroad and play for a 3rd tier team