“Get rid of the away-goal tiebreaker!”
“Have a minigame after the second game!”
“I miss shootouts!”
Yes, it’s that time of year. Even the commissioner, Don Garber, has fretted about the away-goal tiebreaker.
So, once again, I’m going to say MLS should use a modified Page playoff system. But I’ll tweak it this year, going up to 10 teams.
In each conference:
#5 at #4
4-5 winner at #3
#2 at #1
3-4-5 winner at 1-2 loser
Semifinal winner at 1-2 winner
Yes, the 1-2 quarterfinal loser gets another chance. That’s a perk of finishing in the top two.
And that’s the beauty of this system. The higher the seed, the more of an advantage a team has.
No more griping about the top seed gaining little advantage in a two-leg series. No more coasting once a team has wrapped up a playoff berth.
The top seed gets home field and another chance with a loss. The second seed gets a second chance and will host its second game, either the semifinal or the final.
The third seed gets to skip the play-in game and host a quarterfinal. The fourth seed gets to host the play-in game.
The fifth seed is a long shot.
Here’s how it would’ve worked this year:
#5 Los Angeles at #4 Seattle. This game was actually played, with Seattle winning 3-2.
Seattle at #3 Portland
#2 Vancouver at #1 Dallas
Seattle-Portland winner at Vancouver-Dallas loser
Semifinal winner at Vancouver-Dallas winner
#5 New England at #4 D.C. United. In the real world, D.C. won this game 2-1.
D.C. at #3 Montreal
#2 Columbus at #1 New York
D.C.-Montreal winner at Columbus-NY loser
Semifinal winner at Columbus-NY winner
The advantages of this system:
- Regular-season performance is rewarded.
- Fewer games than current system.
- No awkward two-leg series. Every game advances one team; most games eliminate one team.
So there you have it. Again.