As you may have already heard, MLS announced two things Sunday night to coincide with MLS Cup:
1. They’re looking into a change in scheduling to align with the international calendar, which in many parts of the world means an August-May league calendar — with or without a split season, with or without a winter break (well, with — Garber concedes the league won’t be playing in January or most of February). What has actually been decided along these lines: Absolutely nothing. Could be split season, could be Bundesliga-style, could be nothing.
2. They want to go to 11 teams in the playoff. I’m sorry — 10. Thinking ahead to Nigel Tufnel Day (11/11/11). Bracket system to be determined. Brian Straus and I can still hold out hope for our competing playoff proposals (he wants group stage; I want Aussie Rules style).
MLS has often held an informal talk with a mob surrounding the commissioner at halftime. This time, they decided to let us focus on the game, so they told us and held a press conference ahead of the game, with the request that we hold off on reporting it. Sounds reasonable, right? They could’ve just handed us a press release, and we wouldn’t have had a chance to ask questions.
Not that we the media ask the most brilliant questions, and not that Don Garber was really in a position to say anything more than that.
As Charles Boehm said on Twitter (I’ll go back and add links later), aligning with dates for international games would make sense. Playing any farther into the winter is a non-starter.
A Latin American-style split season could be intriguing, and a summer MLS Cup wouldn’t have to worry about NFL and NCAA football taking every available weekend time slot.
The playoff announcement will meet with sure derision from the fans. But good luck changing their minds.
And really, as I said multiple times in my book, MLS can’t please everyone. Not in such a diverse country.