July 27, 2009

New MLS Playoff Format: Different for the sake of being different

I'll go on the record as saying that the potential new playoff format, broken by our buddies at Pitch Invasion, is not the best idea.

Round robin playoffs? Can you imagine trying to explain that one to Joe Sixpack? Can you imagine the talking heads on ESPN trying to wrap their heads around it?

Are we having flashbacks to the 1974, 1978, and 1982 World Cups?

I get the idea to reward excellence during the regular season and fully support it. I love the part about MLS Cup being played at the team with the highest seed.

However, I think the Mexican league format of giving the higher seeded team the tiebreaker is a better way of doing this. Each team should get a home playoff game. You shouldn't penalize teams for making the playoffs by forcing them to play every game away. It's the most fair way of doing things.

I prefer the Mexican format even to the WPS or USL models, where the highest seed is given a playoff bye. I've seen too many teams struggle to regain their momentum and chemistry after sitting out through a bye while a lesser team comes in on a high note. It's hard to stay sharp without playing.

It's a good try, but simpler is better MLS.

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