Well first, I hate 10 teams making the playoffs. There is no logic in it at all and one only has to look at the fact that had the new playoff format been used last year, then the Chicago Fire with 36 points would have made the playoffs. Talk about lowering the bar, even RSL with their "losing" record in 2009 managed to get 40 points. I get that the league is growing, but that shouldn't be a reason to put more teams in the playoffs, it sure shouldn't be reason to create a new "wild card" round. We aren't the NFL, and I don't know of any fans who were demanding that more teams make the playoffs or that we create another round of playoffs (or playins).
Was this really the best that "the Don" and the MLS Competition Group could come up with? Honestly? The problem was simple, have the best team play the worst team. I get that "the Don" is hung up on his geographic conferences, but nobody else is and I have to believe most fans would have embraced a 1vs.8, 2vs.7, 3vs.6, and 4vs.5 playoff system. Nope instead we end up with a mess, all in an attempt to ensure that he doesn't end up with two Western Conference teams playing for the Eastern Conference Championship. Hint, just rename the conferences something not based on geography and have the best teams play.
I think the biggest thing I noticed today was the lack of creativity, one thing is for sure those who think we don't need a playoff system in MLS, will not have their minds changed by this offering.
after the jump let's see what it would have done to the 2010 playoffs
So here is how the playoffs would have looked last year (with the new format):
Western Conference (top 3)
- Los Angeles Galaxy (Supporters' Shield Winner)
- Real Salt Lake
- FC Dallas
- New York Red Bulls
- Columbus Crew
- Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC)
- San Jose
- LA Galaxy vs. Colorado
- Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas
- New York vs. Seattle
- Columbus vs. Kansas City
- The top 8 teams make it into the playoffs.
- The parings will be 1vs8, 2vs7, 3v6, and 4v5
- Each series will be home and away, ties broken by total goals, then away goals, then extra time, and finally PK shootout.
- The higher ranked team will have the option of hosting first or second leg, including MLS Cup.