Thursday, February 18, 2016

Columbus Broke The MLS Cup (he said hauntingly)

Of all the things that bounce around my head daily in regards to MLS, the fact that Columbus Crew SC finished the MLS Cup Playoffs with a losing record haunts this site. HAUNTS. I mean, Columbus ended up hosting the damn thing. I've danced around this topic indirectly over the past couple months, but tonight want to get straight to the heart of this thing.

He's lurking around this space somewhere. I gotta hunt this ghost down.

The MLS Cup Playoff is an ever changing beast. Each year brings changes. Remember a few years ago when East and West teams ended up playing in each other's bracket? Seems like an easy thing to avoid, but nay! Same with putting a control or two in that prevents a team in the final from making it with a 2 win and 2 loss Cup record.

MLS is always trying to squeeze as much out of their small league as they can. This past year gave us more weekend games and home / away series. From a business perspective, it sorta worked. If you think back to the 2014 version you'll remember quarter to half full stadiums for midweek matches and effectively zero folks watching on TV.

By avoiding the weeknight matches in 2015, the league remedied the attendance problem but the TV thing is still a thorn. Games on Sunday during "sports season" in the USA doesn't help, of course, but if they are running a summer schedule, that's going to be an ongoing issue.

That's just it. There are so many ongoing issues with MLS trying to nail down a playoff format. From the league being in continuous growth mode to the reality that they are only a small part of a larger game, not just in the world, but in their own region.

I'm right under the MLS logo. Thrilled.
The unique position of MLS is in opens doors that other major leagues in the US only dream of. It should be a crime they don't take action (though, from the look of things in the latest MLS CBA there appears to be a new thing with LigaMX in the works).

I've talked about this before. MLS / USSF needs to begin the process of linking up leagues. A system of promotion and relegation in North America is ideal, of course, but league leaders and voices make it seem like a plan cooked up in outer space that's possibly controlled by some foreign Euro-trash power under command of the Chinese government (not even half joking there).


Simple solution to this, and their, problem is to put together a post-season cup that includes the top teams in MLS, NASL and USL. Make it group stage home/away. Tournament lasts a month. Winner gets that CONCACAF Champions League birth. We can do this now USSF.

Know how great it would be so see Columbus playing in St. Louis, Charleston, Raleigh, or Sacramento? It's refreshing to think about while the thought of another MLS Cup with MLS teams playing each other for the fifth and sixth time in a calendar year (and next year, and the year after)... sucks.


The ghost lurks, still.

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