But, upon some contemplation, a tournament-style competition definitely has its up-sides, and is by no means alien to the world of soccer: we all love the World Cup, the Copa America, and the European Championships, not to mention the Champions’ League and the UEFA Cup. And, with my tickets in hand for D.C.’s first-round game against Chicago, I’m looking forward to a spirited and high-caliber competition. Let the playoffs begin!
I think my real beef with the MLS Playoffs is that too many teams get in. Perhaps this will be less of an issue in 5-10 years, after the planned league expansion. I only hope they do not also expand the playoffs.
Moreover, with the awarding of the Supporters’ Shield to the best regular-season team, there is still some prestige to owning the best record (and I think winning the Shield should be touted more by the league and the media).
So, at the end of the day, the league’s system is growing on me, and I think it has the potential to be a winning format.
This year’s matchups:
Eastern Conference Semifinals:
D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire
New England Revolution vs. NY Red Bulls
Western Conference Semifinals:
Chivas USA v. KC Wizards (née “The Wiz”*)
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas (née “The Burn”*)
My predictions later this week...
* Sometimes seems like the old MLS teams were named after medical symptoms. Especially when the Burn matched up with the Wiz—a concerning pairing that cried out for antibiotics.