07 April 2006

The World Is Watching. Somewhat.

Eric McErlain, writing in Off-Wing opinion, catches up with Week #1 in MLS. Eric's a pretty knowledgeable sports-junkie, the The DCenters doesn't just say that because he has some kind words for us. He's not a soccer freak like yours truly, but he's always giving MLS a chance. No knee-jerk Jim Rome-esque anti-soccer reaction there. He loves sports (with something of a focus on hockey) but is exactly the sort of leading edge fan that MLS needs to win over in the next five years. Anyways, he has some interesting writing on the MLS regular season / playoff discussion, so I thought I'd take some time to address some of his points.

He's smart enough to know that promotion/relegation is not on the table, but he suggests a playoff system that is, I think, the same they use in Aussie Rules Football (UPDATE - No, not Aussie Rules. See Comments from KJ):

...think about this format instead: Top MLS finisher automatically advances to a one-game championship. The second and third place teams advance to a home and home two-game series in the typical European style (total aggregate goals wins, total away goals serves as tie breaker). Winner of that series advances to the championship to face the first place finisher.
Not a bad idea, especially when you factor in his comments regarding playoff ticket sales (not really a problem in DC, but in other places that offer $5 playoff tickets, the point is quite valid.) A few other points in response to his article:
  1. MLS may be going overboard with the entire Eurostyle naming conventions. It worked for DC United, but the LA Galaxy are also successful. There's no reason we need to be all one thing or all the other. MLS soccer has a polyglot of influences (USA, the Americas, Europe), and the naming conventions should reflect that. So the [City Name] [Animal] convention should not be removed from consideration. Nor should Eurostyle names, or even Central/South American names. Let's let them mix freely. Seems appropriate for the soccer league of the world's melting pot.
  2. Since expansion, it is no longer 80% of the teams that make the playoffs, but 66%. The overall point is, I admit, still valid. But with MLS now saying that the single table winner represents the US in the Champions Cup, we're moving in the right direction. (This point more accurately should be addressed to Bob Sturm, who Eric is citing)
  3. The You Tube video Eric is using is from Scaryice over at Climbing the Ladder. I should say that in a comment, but I hate typekey. It's a thing with me. So Mr. Ice, take credit as you can now claim results in helping MLS's visibility. Well done.
  4. Don't think for a moment that "For more MLS news, check out DCenters, the favorite blog for the best fans in all of MLS" isn't going into The DCenters' ego file. Damn straight it is.

Okay, I've got a game preview to write. Better get cracking.


At 07 April, 2006 13:11, Blogger kj said...

Actually, the Australian Football League uses a rather complicated playoff system that involves the top eight teams (out of sixteen total).

At 07 April, 2006 13:20, Blogger D said...

Dear god... that is complicated. Thanks for pointing that out. What was I thinking of? Isn't there someone that uses a finals system like that?


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