07 November 2006

Fixing MLS

Congratulations to the New England Revolution and the Houston Dynamo for reaching this year's MLS Cup. I do try to be a supporter of MLS, but Revs keeper Matt Reis' comments will tell you why I find that a difficult proposition.
"It really doesn't matter what you do during the year as long as you get into the playoffs," Reis said. "And once you're in the playoffs, that's when the season really starts."

While hardcore soccer fans have been pushing for a single table format for the MLS for years, it seems doubtful that such a system will be implemented any time soon. The primary argument against the single table is that with relegation be strictly verboten in U.S. sports leagues, bottom dwelling teams will have little incentive to play hard in the final weeks, leading to many meaningless, boring matches. And while there is some validity to this notion (just watch EPL games between mid-level teams in the final weeks), I still believe it's possible to devise a single table system that rewards ALL teams in proportion to their final position in the table, thereby providing late season incentive to teams in lower positions.

There are many ideas out there and much discussion of possible changes. Until the MLS regular season actually starts to mean something, I can't be bothered to care too much about it.

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