Gothamite

North American Pro Soccer 2019

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Just now, Digby said:

The other thing is, to my knowledge, most if not all the leagues where the table-toppers are the "true champion" also play a balanced schedule. Obviously that's not the case in MLS, where you don't even play the same fixture list as other teams in your conference, let alone the other one. So that's a confounding variable in the usual single-table-no-playoffs standard.

 

This is an excellent point. Tournaments to determine a champion are basically a necessity when there's no balanced schedule. After all, how can you declare a team the "best" (even with the most points or the most wins) if everybody doesn't play the same teams the same number of times? Have a perfectly balanced schedule and regular season standings probably tell you the "best" team. Have an unbalanced schedule and it doesn't quite tell you that. Not saying tournaments are a better way to determine the "best" team, either. MLB postseason and NHL playoffs in particular are mostly a crapshoot (but at least MLB only lets the top teams make the postseason in the first place, rather than half the league). But that's the reason the World Series even exists: without the World Series you can have an NL pennant winner and an AL pennant winner, but if they both played entirely different teams to arrive at that result, how can you determine which one is actually the best? You can't - therefore, the postseason.

But all of that still doesn't matter in the US. Championship tournaments are what Americans care about, Championship tournaments are what Americans find exciting, and perhaps most importantly, Championship tournaments are what make money.

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I don't see why MLS couldn't do it just like Europe and then have a post season tournament on the end. Sure, it would take awhile for it to really catch on, but if you can crown a regular season champ, a post season champ, AND a US champ (US Open Cup) you can definitely still do that without really compromising much. Maybe if you wanted to REALLY emphasize the regular season champion, give them TWO byes in the playoffs, or something. 

 

It may already be a thing, but you could really push for winning all three titles in a year being an overly prestigious thing. Call it the "Soccer Grand Slam" or something. Give them a star made out of platinum for winning it or some real fancy stuff like that. 

 

This all seems out of the question now because the US style playoff format is so engrained into our heads, but give it some time and people will get used to it. The only thing this attempts is to generate more interest for the sport. It doesn't change the sport fundamentally like the DH does in baseball or anything. 

 

 

Edit: I will say the whole unbalanced schedule thing is an issue, though. That would definitely have to be worked on in this scenario. But even with that, it's not like a balanced schedule levels the playing field 100%, even. You could catch a team that's on fire early in the season and lose, and the team just behind you catches them at the end of the year when they're ravaged with injuries and stomps them out. That's just kind of the nature of sports. 

 

 

 

 

As someone who's new to soccer, one of the things I like really about it is that it is different than other sports. Not everything has to follow the same format to be fun and interesting. 

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27 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

 

In European soccer, the top of the table is the champion, and the Champions League is the true champion. We're not set up for that here.

 

The NHL has the President's Trophy and the Stanley Cup. The MLS has the exact same setup. So long as you have a tournament at the end, the winner of the regular season will always be seen as runner-up to the winner of the playoff tournament. It's a quirk of American sports that won't -- and shouldn't -- go away.

 

I think Supporters Shield could stand to be rebranded; I didn't realize it was the points leader until like 2012.

 

But that conditioning part is really, really difficult. We just need more emphasis on the end-of-season points champion, as you said.

 

23 minutes ago, Maroon said:

 

This is a really, really good post that I agree with.

 

I also think it's really, really unlikely that Americans will ever care about a team accomplishing anything other than a championship, regardless of whichever team is the "best."

 

13 minutes ago, SFGiants58 said:


I say scrap the Supporter’s Shield. This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is a perfect example for why the “best team” shouldn’t be champion. If they’re truly the best, prove it in the playoffs. Otherwise, you’re left hanging a useless banner and have the bitter taste of not winning when it mattered.

 

The 2006-07 Sharks weren’t the “best team.” The 73-win Warriors weren’t the “best team.” This year’s Lightning squad wasn’t the “best team.”

 

The problem with the President's Trophy in the NHL is nobody tries to win the President's Trophy. Every team plans and strategizes and maneuvers their season and plays with the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. The President's Trophy is almost always won by accident and 100% of the time by a team who was put together with the goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

 

The MLS, though, is new enough and the MLS Cup not so entrenched that if the league shifted the goal for every team from winning the end of year tournament to being the best team over the course of the regular season then I could see that taking hold. That would be if the league felt that doing so wouldn't cannibalize interest in their postseason races. 

 

 

 

9 minutes ago, Digby said:

The other thing is, to my knowledge, most if not all the leagues where the table-toppers are the "true champion" also play a balanced schedule. Obviously that's not the case in MLS, where you don't even play the same fixture list as other teams in your conference, let alone the other one (and the unbalancedness is probably only going to get more prominent in the next couple years with expansion). So that's a confounding variable in the usual single-table-no-playoffs standard.

 

Making everything a balanced schedule seems like a pretty easy fix from where I'm sitting. 

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59 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

I think MLS should put a lot of emphasis on Supporter's Shield, which is the true best team. I'm talking big bonuses to players, coverage of the race on TV and online, trophy presentations on a stage on the field. Make it a big deal. Then, hold the end of the year single elimination tournament to crown the season's champion.

 

I agree with the thrust of this, but not with the last bit.  I will clarify in the light of this comment: 

 

29 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

I think Supporters Shield could stand to be rebranded;

 

The name "Supporters' Shield" comes from the fact that it wasn't a league-created title, but, rather, one that was demanded by the fans.  The name diminishes the importance of the acheivement.

 

I would favour giving the team with the most points the title "league champions", and the playoff winner the title "cup champions".  In fact, that latter team is already called officially by the league the "MLS Cup champions" (not the "MLS champions").  The already-established use of "MLS Cup champions" opens the door to officialising the use of "MLS league champions".

 

Of course, this is not a perfect solution because, as @Digby pointed out, all teams don't play the same schedule. However, teams playing different schedules already compete for the same playoff spots in every league including MLS.  So competing for this title is no different.


Also, it would help acheive the following important goal:

 

37 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

We just need more emphasis on the end-of-season points champion

 

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31 minutes ago, Bucfan56 said:

I don't see why MLS couldn't do it just like Europe and then have a post season tournament on the end. Sure, it would take awhile for it to really catch on, but if you can crown a regular season champ, a post season champ, AND a US champ (US Open Cup) you can definitely still do that without really compromising much. Maybe if you wanted to REALLY emphasize the regular season champion, give them TWO byes in the playoffs, or something. 

 

When FC Cincinnati won the USL version of the Supporter's Shield or whatever it's called it seemed like they all cared way more about that than winning the playoffs. When they got to the playoffs, especially because they were about to leave the league, it felt like none of them gave a flip. I thought it kind of interesting. 

 

Quote

It may already be a thing, but you could really push for winning all three titles in a year being an overly prestigious thing. Call it the "Soccer Grand Slam" or something. Give them a star made out of platinum for winning it or some real fancy stuff like that. 

 

 

I was thinking this too. Like if you win the Supporter's Shield all the players and coaches and front office people get a big ass bonus. Enough money to entice people to really shoot for it. Then if that Supporter's Shield winning team goes on to win the MLS cup then everyone gets, I don't know, twice as much as the regular prize money. 

 

I really like the idea of having an achievement that's above winning a league championship, that probably won't happen very often. 

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If MLS stays at 30 teams (IT WON'T) they could split into 3 conferences of 10 teams each. You play the other 9 teams in your conference twice for 18 games. You play the other 20 teams once each. That adds up to a 38 game season for each team. Of course once the league expands beyond 30 the scheduling will get wonky again. 

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1 hour ago, Bucfan56 said:

I don't see why MLS couldn't do it just like Europe and then have a post season tournament on the end.

 

Seriously, though; why should they?   How would that be better than what we have now?

 

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4 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

Seriously, though; why should they? 

 

 

Because it would be fun. And you wouldn't necessarily have to change the structure of how your league is formatted right now, anyway. It doesn't take anything away from how they're currently doing it, it just adds emphasis to another point of interest. 

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Anytime there's an end of year tournament in the US, people will call them the champions and that's the end of it.

 

Should make it during the season. Play MLS and the MLS cup at the same time.

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1 hour ago, Wings said:

If MLS stays at 30 teams (IT WON'T) they could split into 3 conferences of 10 teams each. You play the other 9 teams in your conference twice for 18 games. You play the other 20 teams once each. That adds up to a 38 game season for each team. Of course once the league expands beyond 30 the scheduling will get wonky again. 

 

Of course they won't stop. Not until there aren't any suc-I mean, untapped markets for soccer left. Makes me wonder how MLS is going to function without any more expansion fees.

 

The M doesn't stand for Major, it stands for Monorail. Because that's what it looks like when MLS comes to town and says a new soccer stadium would put a US city on the map.

Edited by Red Comet

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15 minutes ago, DiePerske said:

Anytime there's an end of year tournament in the US, people will call them the champions and that's the end of it.

 

Should make it during the season. Play MLS and the MLS cup at the same time.

 

It's not run by MLS, but we've already got the US Open Cup.

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2 hours ago, Red Comet said:

Of course they won't stop. Not until there aren't any suc-I mean, untapped markets for soccer left. Makes me wonder how MLS is going to function without any more expansion fees.

 

MLS is not surviving on the expansion fees. 

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Yeah, I’m not quite sure you understand the structure of the league if you really believe that. 

 

 

I don't really get why people have such an axe to grind with the way MLS is growing. I get that it’s quick, but it’s that way because the revenue is enough to allow it to be that way. There are definitely some issues, like any league has (lord knows I’ve taken issues at times with the way our bid worked out), but soccer has a ton of potential and these supposed “marks” realize that. 

 

I think the only thing that makes me roll my eyes more than this kind of discussion is the pro/rel debate. 

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MLS kinda takes it from all sides; those threatened by the growth of a sport they don’t personally enjoy, and those who do enjoy it but want to follow overseas clubs.

 

Still, there’s no excuse for spreading the “Ponzi scheme” canard.  That’s either uninformed or disingenuous, no other options. 

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5 hours ago, Red Comet said:

Of course they won't stop. Not until there aren't any suc-I mean, untapped markets for soccer left. Makes me wonder how MLS is going to function without any more expansion fees.

 

34 minutes ago, Bucfan56 said:

Yeah, I’m not quite sure you understand the structure of the league if you really believe that. 

 

 

I don't really get why people have such an axe to grind with the way MLS is growing. I get that it’s quick, but it’s that way because the revenue is enough to allow it to be that way.

 

5 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

there’s no excuse for spreading the “Ponzi scheme” canard.  That’s either uninformed or disingenuous, no other options. 

 

Right. MLS's growth has actually been rather measured. The notion that the league is dependent upon expansion fees, in the way that the USFL was, is so very far from correct. In fact, MLS routinely turns away suitors, rejecting many more than it accepts.

 

And the proof of its discretion is that every one of its new teams has been a success, the most outstanding example of which is Atlanta.

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I’d like to issue a take: I don’t care about the Supporters Shield, and I’m barely interested in the US Open Cup. 

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11 minutes ago, Digby said:

I’d like to issue a take: I don’t care about the Supporters Shield, and I’m barely interested in the US Open Cup. 

 

USOC is something I only really care about if my team is in it. I liked watching SKC win a couple US Open Cups and it was really cool when I got to watch the Little Rock Rangers play in it.

 

Supporters' Shield is basically just the Presidents' Trophy for me. It's neat, but it's not the title. It's like if the Golden State Warriors constantly bragged about having the best regular season record ever even though they lost the actual title against the Cavs. Sure, it's an awesome accomplishment worthy of praise, but it's not the ultimate goal.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

 

 

Right. MLS's growth has actually been rather measured. The notion that the league is dependent upon expansion fees, in the way that the USFL was, is so very far from correct. In fact, MLS routinely turns away suitors, rejecting many more than it accepts.

 

And the proof of its discretion is that every one of its new teams has been a success, the most outstanding example of which is Atlanta.

 

MLS face planted really hard with some of their early decisions. The Chivas USA debacle was pretty embarrassing, and before that their original failed foray into Florida nearly sunk the entire league. They took those lessons to heart though, and have really impressed me with the way they’ve grown since then. They have extremely rigorous standards when it comes to team placement, but it’s proven itself to be the right decision. A lot of young leagues could learn a thing or two from their particular business model. 

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15 minutes ago, Bucfan56 said:

 

MLS face planted really hard with some of their early decisions. The Chivas USA debacle was pretty embarrassing, and before that their original failed foray into Florida nearly sunk the entire league. They took those lessons to heart though, and have really impressed me with the way they’ve grown since then. They have extremely rigorous standards when it comes to team placement, but it’s proven itself to be the right decision. A lot of young leagues could learn a thing or two from their particular business model. 

 

With the possible exception of Austin, they have chosen the right cities, those with soccer history and die hard fan bases. Sacramento had been waiting for years to get into the MLS.  Now you are in, and its well worth the wait for you guys and now it's not "are we ever going to get an MLS team?" it's now "now how can we be a success on the field in MLS?  Will we be the best team in our state among the MLS teams?" 

 

Orlando seems to be working out and time will tell if Miami works the second time, especially in the same location as where the Miami Fusion once played.  LAFC has been a smash success, erasing the dark days of Chivas USA. 

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