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Playoff format changes expected next year


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#16
McSoccer

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What if a MLS team wins CCL in 2019. With the MLS cup being in mid November and the potential CCL winning team being eliminated from the MLS playoffs in October. That leads to just over 2 months of off time to prepare for a club world cup competition. That is rediculously long lay off time and will gurantee an MLS* teams early departure from the tournament. I think MLS is getting closer and closer with the quality of Liga MX and with Chivas being out of the Mexican playoffs this year. I think there is a substantial chance of MLS team winning the CCL in 2019.

Couldn't the teams just come back early to prep for CCL?



#17
ivo

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Couldn't the teams just come back early to prep for CCL?

The concern is about the Club World Cup, not the CCL.

 

In any case, a very fringe issue. The benefits from a season ending before the international break in November far outweigh this niche hypothetical.



#18
ivo

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I disagree. The club world cup starts a week after the MLS Cup. That's plenty of time to travel for team representing CONCACAF to travel. Even if the team representing CONCACAF the newly reigning MLS Cup Champion. Plus FIFA has not announced where the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup is to be played. Maybe Florida or Texas can host the tournament. It would be popular here in the States. Does anybody know if US Soccer or CONCACAF has made a bid to host.

https://tribune.com....o-told-jack-ma/

 

Looks like a done deal for it to be in China, with Alibaba being the main sponsor through 2022.



#19
Grelladinho

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Sounds nice but will it actually happen? The same changes (or very similar ones) were rumored to be happening either prior to this season or the one before it, and those never materialized.

#20
colinh9

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If two more weekday games shorten the season by a month, that seems a reasonable trade off.
I just want games against our Eastern rivals scheduled on weekends! Road trips on weeknights create logistical nightmares for travelling fans.

Careful what you wish for! They'll just do 7pm on Sunday.  :)+



#21
ianuaditis

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Increased schedule density favors deep teams that can develop their own talent, so that benefits us.

 

I like the one game playoff format - but conference finals should be two legs, b.c theoretically they feature an interesting matchup. Metro-Atlanta in a one game playoff would be crazy intense, but the tactics that come out over two game are also fun. 

i'm not wild about the one game playoff.  I don't like the away goals rule, but I like the aggregate series, I wouldn't mind if they keep the same format except an additional single elimination game among the lower seeds.


Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.


#22
Sasa Curcic's Watch

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I hate the international break in the middle of the playoffs as much as anyone but I'm not sure a single elimination game is the way to go. Single game playoffs can lead to more fluke results and it will weaken the advantage the regular season team should get from being a better regular season team. The away goal rule already takes away the advantage from the higher seed and this potential change doesn't help it either. 

 

A compressed and shorter season also doesn't help. A team that doesn't make the playoffs will be off for how long, 5 months? That's not good. Also surprised owners will be willing to give up playoff home games. Compressed playoffs means less revenue from home games for a lot of teams. 

 

There have to be better solutions to deal with the November FIFA window. And is the break really worse than the solution they came up with? And most importantly they haven't addressed giving the higher seed more of an advantage in the playoffs. 



#23
ianuaditis

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I hate the international break in the middle of the playoffs as much as anyone but I'm not sure a single elimination game is the way to go. Single game playoffs can lead to more fluke results and it will weaken the advantage the regular season team should get from being a better regular season team. The away goal rule already takes away the advantage from the higher seed and this potential change doesn't help it either. 

 

A compressed and shorter season also doesn't help. A team that doesn't make the playoffs will be off for how long, 5 months? That's not good. Also surprised owners will be willing to give up playoff home games. Compressed playoffs means less revenue from home games for a lot of teams. 

 

There have to be better solutions to deal with the November FIFA window. And is the break really worse than the solution they came up with? And most importantly they haven't addressed giving the higher seed more of an advantage in the playoffs. 

I read a comment, I think on that KC site, that single elimination games encourage 'negative play,' I guess there's something to that, for a less talented team bunkering and playing for penalties becomes a better strategy. Though in a two leg series without away goals, I guess the same thing can apply.


Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.


#24
JBigjake54

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single elimination games encourage 'negative play,' ... a less talented team bunkering and playing for penalties


In a regulation tie, home team advances?
Of course, THAT might encourage negative play by the higher seed!

We are good enough to beat the best teams, and bad enough to lose to the worst teams. 


#25
ivo

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And most importantly they haven't addressed giving the higher seed more of an advantage in the playoffs. 

How so? It doesn't get more advantageous than a single elimination game at the higher seed's stadium. What else would be more helpful (aside from scrapping the playoffs altogether, which isn't happening)?

You point out some valid negative side effects of the changes, but I don't think any of those are dealbreakers. More flukey champions? Yes, for some. Drama/excitement/Cinderella stories for others.

5 months off for some teams? Yeah, but most teams' seasons end in October or shortly thereafter in the current format anyway. And extra series for 4 teams and another 2 or 3 more games for the final 4 is the difference. Plus the new season may start earlier, offsetting some of that.

I am as surprised as you with teams and the league being willing to sacrifice playoff games.


So yes, in my opinion, having the pinnacle of the season happen after a week-long break killing any playoff momentum for teams still in as well as neutral fans is indeed that much worse. Now let's see what actually happens.

#26
Eleazar

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maybe have the regular season end at the int'l break, then start the playoffs after.


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#27
jamison

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I'm ok with single elimination games; you get fluke results in the NFL & NCAAs with them as well, but, that's sports.  Show up on the day and win.  Simple.

 

I'd just like it to be that the higher seed hosts, and rather than away goals or PKs, if the game ends in a tie then the higher seed advances as well so it puts more of an emphasis on the regular season.  I don't think they'll go to that, but it makes sense. It may lead the home team to bunker, but if you play for a tie at home but give up a fluke goal in the 89' on a bad backpass, well, you're fucked, so good luck with that.  Making the away team play to win rather than bunker for PKs would be good motivation.

 

The first Seattle-TFC cup final in (iirc) '16 was an awful 120', with SEA basically playing for PKs and TFC unable to score.  With a one game playoff on the road, you could see a lot of the earlier rounds going that way as well; having the higher seed advance removes that as a tactical option, the away team has to come out to win.  The away team pushing forward should give the home team opportunities to counter, and maybe now you've got a game. If it turns into a 0-0 suckfest where no one scores, then at least you've given the team that had the best regular season a reward for that effort over a 7+ month season. 

 

MLS won't do that because they enjoy the drama of PKs for the sake of television, but I'm ok with that format up to & including MLS Cup.  Why should 7 months of effort come down to PKs in the final either, if it comes to that.  Regular season matters, make the higher seed the winner of any playoff game that ends in a draw, and fuck the PKs.  You'd be setting up for drama at the end of 90', instead of two teams playing ultra conservative in 80'-90', then remaining conservative in 90'-120', and playing for PKs in extra time because they were too tired. 

 

The only spot where it's really a problem is when two teams are tied on points, like the 2 seed in the playoffs makes it from each conference & they are tied at 65 points each.  You wouldn't want the 5th tie-breaker deciding a tie game for the title, etc. You could make the first tie-breaker wins, and then only go to PKs in the very rare instance where both teams were tied on points & wins AND the cup final game ended in a draw, which would make PKs pretty rare.  


 


#28
Sasa Curcic's Watch

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How so? It doesn't get more advantageous than a single elimination game at the higher seed's stadium. What else would be more helpful (aside from scrapping the playoffs altogether, which isn't happening)?
 

It's a debate that we can definitely go back and forth with. A one game playoff can lead to more fluky results whereas a better team should prevail in theory over two games. However like you mention each team having a home game is not much of an advantage either. 

 

Personally I'd like to the two legs remain but higher seed goes through in the event of a tie. 

 

Either way it seems like the main goal is to work around the scheduling issue and not to figure out how to reward the higher seed. 



#29
ivo

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It's a debate that we can definitely go back and forth with. A one game playoff can lead to more fluky results whereas a better team should prevail in theory over two games. However like you mention each team having a home game is not much of an advantage either. 
 
Personally I'd like to the two legs remain but higher seed goes through in the event of a tie. 
 
Either way it seems like the main goal is to work around the scheduling issue and not to figure out how to reward the higher seed. 

I'm perfectly fine with two legs, but would definitely much rather penalties than "x goes through with a tie". I feel like that's the worst of two worlds, combining a weird non-traditional tiebreaker (just not penalties) with games being allowed to end in a dreaded tie that Americans almost instinctively hate. :)

I get that many leople like rewarding the regular season, but often that might be rewarding a fluke result... from the regular season. Given the unbalanced schedule and international fixtures during MLS league games, I feel like giving too much emphasis to the regular season is not that great an approach. A couple of points over a 30+ game season don't mean all that much.

#30
General Robles

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I'm ok with single elimination games; you get fluke results in the NFL & NCAAs with them as well, but, that's sports.  Show up on the day and win.  Simple.
 
I'd just like it to be that the higher seed hosts, and rather than away goals or PKs, if the game ends in a tie then the higher seed advances as well so it puts more of an emphasis on the regular season.  I don't think they'll go to that, but it makes sense. It may lead the home team to bunker, but if you play for a tie at home but give up a fluke goal in the 89' on a bad backpass, well, you're fucked, so good luck with that.  Making the away team play to win rather than bunker for PKs would be good motivation.
 
The first Seattle-TFC cup final in (iirc) '16 was an awful 120', with SEA basically playing for PKs and TFC unable to score.  With a one game playoff on the road, you could see a lot of the earlier rounds going that way as well; having the higher seed advance removes that as a tactical option, the away team has to come out to win.  The away team pushing forward should give the home team opportunities to counter, and maybe now you've got a game. If it turns into a 0-0 suckfest where no one scores, then at least you've given the team that had the best regular season a reward for that effort over a 7+ month season. 
 
MLS won't do that because they enjoy the drama of PKs for the sake of television, but I'm ok with that format up to & including MLS Cup.  Why should 7 months of effort come down to PKs in the final either, if it comes to that.  Regular season matters, make the higher seed the winner of any playoff game that ends in a draw, and fuck the PKs.  You'd be setting up for drama at the end of 90', instead of two teams playing ultra conservative in 80'-90', then remaining conservative in 90'-120', and playing for PKs in extra time because they were too tired. 
 
The only spot where it's really a problem is when two teams are tied on points, like the 2 seed in the playoffs makes it from each conference & they are tied at 65 points each.  You wouldn't want the 5th tie-breaker deciding a tie game for the title, etc. You could make the first tie-breaker wins, and then only go to PKs in the very rare instance where both teams were tied on points & wins AND the cup final game ended in a draw, which would make PKs pretty rare.  


Im a proponent of single elimination in the playoffs, but youve just outlined, in probably a much more succinct way, my main concern with switching to that format. I cant envision MLS instituting a rule where the higher seed automatically advances in the event of a tie, so there could be a significant drop in the entertainment value and quality of play from our current format. Lots of boring, ultra conservative grinds with lots of long clearances and no flow to the game. Hence why I wouldnt call myself a strong proponent of switching to single elimination.

My biggest gripe with this format is that we have clear cut playoff seeding, which in American sports is used to reward the higher seeds in a meaningful way. Whether it be an extra home game or playing the only game at home, depending on the sport. Yet, we have a format, in the middle two rounds, that is used in other various soccer tournaments worldwide to neutralize any advantage and level the playing field. I dont have a proposed solution, but it is a flawed system.




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