- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 14, 2011
- 5 Comments
- Hans Backe, Supporter's Shield
Oh let the debate rage on.
New York Red Bull manager Hans Backe stated over the weekend to the New York Post that his main goal for the season is a Supporter’s Shield trophy, not a MLS Cup.
“My target is to win the Shield. I think we’re good enough to compete with the best teams. Maybe it’s because I’m European, but I would like to win the Shield,’’ said Backe, who considers the MLS Cup more of a crap shoot, while the regular-season is the test of a true champion.
“I’m not sure I care about the MLS Cup, (but) we need to be No. 1 after 34 games; then you’ve proved you’re the best team in the U.S. Then of course you can see with a Cup what you can do. But that, for me, is more like a mini-tournament for five games. Being No. 1 after 34, that’s the target for me and the team.’’
I suppose in a way Backe is going about this in a logical sense. He’s European and where he comes from the season finish is the real winner, not a playoff winner. I get that and in most respects I side with him on this.
It is however, a bold approach from Backe to publicly state that he may not care much about the MLS Cup and of the playoff format (which is set to change).
I get why European folks and those lovely Eurosnobs that follow MLS hate the playoffs. They are, for a lack of better words, a joke. They always have been considering the fact that for the majority of the time that the league has been around more than half of the clubs would get into the playoffs each year. Its only been since the recent expansion that we see less than half of the clubs reach the playoffs, making the regular season a little more meaningful.
But with statements like this I do hope in a small way the league pays attention to it. I’d love nothing more than to see the Supporter’s Shield get a little more love each year. A soccer season is a marathon after all so why not reward the winner with a little more motivation?
For a MLS-loving-American kind of guy that I am I do still love playoffs. I just hope before long they are meaningful and not, as the Post’s article states, a “crap-shoot”.
Backe isn’t saying he doesn’t want to win a MLS Cup though, in fact he expects his club to this season. I for one already believe the Red Bulls are a heavy favorite to win it all this year, Shield included.
But at the end of the day which is more important to you? The Shield or the Cup? Let’s hear it.