Conference Alignment, Playoff Structure, and Rivalry Week

Conference Alignment, Playoff Structure, and Rivalry Week

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 14, 2011
  • Don Garber

Don Garber addresses the media at the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. (Getty Images)

Yesterday was a busy day, we all know that. Some items that fell in the cracks for some though are things you need to hear.

Several folks out there mentioned at the draft that MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league was close to finalizing the conference alignment for this season and the playoff structure. I’ve given it a lot of thought and think the league has a couple options to do for conference alignment.

First of all with two western clubs entering the fold (Vancouver, Portland) it makes the western conference slight bigger than the eastern side. With 10 on the west and 8 on the east some movement needs to be made or the league can just suck it up and say they’ll go unbalanced for the next two years seeing as how they know the next two expansion clubs will be from the east (Montreal and most likely New York).

I doubt that will happen as the most likely scenario will be the league moves both Houston and Dallas to the east, to preserve that rivalry, and then move Sporting Kansas City back to the west. So nine will be in each conference.

The only issue I have with this is when Montreal enter do the league switch KC, Dallas and Houston all back in 2012? I think that’s why I’d really rather see them just go unbalanced here since they definitely won’t go single table like we’d all like them to.

As far as playoff structure with 10 teams it is anyone’s guess at this point how they will structure that.

The big news though is this proposed rivalry week. I love the idea really if it can be done. Thing in one week span you’ll have the three Pacific Northwest clubs going against one another, the three California teams going head-to-head, the Rocky Mountain Cup, the Texan Battle, and then the I-95 clubs (NY, DC, Philly). I could be missing others but this is a great chance for the league to showcase their rivalries.

Will it be pulled off for this season? I’m not betting on it but for 2012 it would be cool, especially consider you can add a rivalry between Montreal and Toronto to the mix.

  • Paulsepp

    We don’t need rivarly week. The Northwest has done fine without and we don’t need the Cascadia cup made into a marketing gimmick. Selling out supporters is lame.

  • Kaiser

    Is he saying have all the rivalry games in the same week? Terrrible idea! Why not space them out to really showcase 1 each week. For example…one week have the Texas teams face off, then have a Philly v. DC matchup, then the Super Clasico, then a Portland v. Seattle game. By spacing them out each one can be promoted more by the league. I do think it would be good to have them played at the same time each year, like college football does, to promote an element of tradition and rivalry…that way we know middle of summer is the Galaxy-San Jose matchup, and end of the year is the Rocky Mountain Cup, or beginning of the year is Vancouver-Portland.

  • Irate

    Please oh god no, feature the rivalries but dont compress those three games into a week. Keep them spread out, you do t eat all your Halloween candy in one sitting.

  • Kaiser

    By th way…in this picture doesn’t Garber look a little like the Chris Kattan character Mr Peepers from the old SNL skit. Maybe its the ears.