Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Complaints on MLS Part I

Having looked at the updated allocation list, I noticed at how there aren't many rewards for winning the MLS Cup, or for winning the Supporters' Shield. The allocation list seemed to favor the teams that missed the play-offs, which brought me to my first complains on MLS:

Parity

Parity is one of the biggest problems in MLS. A simple example of this is near the end of last season, Columbus, who was the worst team last season, beat Chicago 4-1 away from home. They also won the double over FC Dallas, 2-1 away and 3-1 at home, yet they were the worst team in MLS. On top of this, MLS awards these teams with higher draft picks as well as allocation spots for missing the play-offs. This does makes managing a (so called) 'top team' tougher, but sometimes it makes a lowly team's life easier.

Even though MLS isn't near the standard of Europe, and some say it shouldn't be compared to it, I want to make a simple comparison. When a team finishes last in, say England, they fall down to the next lower league and must try to come back and stay in the Premiership all over again. This makes bottom of the league more exciting and eventful. Meanwhile in MLS, the bottom of the league can relax because they will, probably, get the next top talent in the draft as well as a high position on the allocation list, which means that they may be the team that wins the title next season.

Rivalries

There are many small problems which leads us to the big problem. The problem isn't the fans who hate fans of the other team. It's just that sometimes, the rivalries are sort of forced. Let FC Dallas and Houston build their rivalry, rather than saying the winner gets a cannon or a trophy. The rivalry between RSL and Colorado was forced in the beginning, before it finally took off.

Another thing which I have a problem with is the rivalries. I would personally prefer the LA Derby over the Honda Superclasico. I feel that the fans or the press should have the freedom over the rivalry's name, rather than having the rivalry official and sponsored.

Eastern/Western Conference

I feel that there is probably too much emphasis on winning the MLS Cup, but of course the reason is that there is no motive to win the "regular" season. The 4th place team in the conference can go and win it all (eg. LA Galaxy - 2005), and the team that worked hard for most of the season (eg. San Jose - 2005) is left helpless. MLS tried to solve this problem, but now a bigger problem arose - what's the point of the Eastern/Western conference divide. If it's possible for DC United to win the Western Conference, why call it the Western Conference?

Summer Schedule

This is another point debated over, and it seems to me that MLS should adopt a winter schedule. Thought there are some problems (clashes with Football, it's too cold, etc.) these can be resolved easily. One is to play 24 games in the season, one home and one away (which means a single table) Also, a winter break won't be that bad, as it can help avoid the 'too cold' temperatures. It can also give the teams a break so a team doesn't have an extremely good first half of the season, but a poor second half. It can also help MLS is competitive competitions (eg. CCC). Maybe, MLS can push the SuperLiga so it won't be a Mexican Pre-season tournament and it will have more meaning to the Mexican teams they face. Finally, many international player may not be missing as much and then MLS may have more meaning to them.



Part II to come soon

Note: I understand how easy it is to blast a small league, so to help, I will make a few proposals, which is also to come soon

Comments appreciated

1 comment:

Goose said...

"Meanwhile in MLS, the bottom of the league can relax because they will, probably, get the next top talent in the draft as well as a high position on the allocation list, which means that they may be the team that wins the title next season."

You'd think so, but the fact is that the Crew, Wizards and RSL have all missed the playoffs for two straight years now. Teams are given the tools to try and get better, but it's something that's much easier said than done.

As for the conferences thing, I think this season you'll see the league drop the Conference Final title from the MLS Cup semifinal matches and the team that finishes top of their conference will be crowned champion of it.