Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Monday, 2 November 2009

MLS playoffs

I guess the play-offs themselves merit an explanatory post seeing as those outside of the US (like myself) are probably scratching their heads at this alien method of establishing a top team.. In essence the MLS is split into two geographical 'conferences' (East and West), they are however part of a single 'league' and play against teams of both conferences. At the end of the year the top teams from each conference are pitted against each other in a play-off scenario which for 2009, started this weekend.
The teams involved are Chicago, New England and Columbus from the Eastern Conference, and LA, Chivas, Salt Lake, Seattle and Houston from the Western Conference. Although as I understand it, both Chivas and Salt Lake went through on a wildcard which means Salt Lake will play their play-off against Western conference table-toppers Columbus Crew.
As far as I can tell, the teams have been split into the following match-ups:

Los Angeles Galaxy Vs. Chivas USA (WEST)

Houston Dynamo Vs. Seattle Sounders (WEST)

Columbus Crew Vs. Real Salt Lake (EAST)

Chicago Fire Vs. New England Revolution (EAST)

I presume that the winners within each conference match-up, play each other before a final between the two champions emerging from each conference happens (22nd November). But at this stage, your guess is a good as mine... It's one more thing which goes to demonstrate that for Americans, the MLS is just soccer put onto a basketball model.

I am sure the model is tried and tested (for other sports), it's just that it doesn't fit with the rest of the world - and in the case of soccer, the rest of the world is still some way ahead of the US system. The play-off system itself doesn't harm the domestic game of course, in fact it has some merits (although whether there is any merit in a geographical divide is another matter). However, the trouble with the basketball (or baseball - I have no real idea where the model came from) model is that is also imposes the salary cap system, central contracts and all those other restrictions which prevent the US teams from competing in the real world of football (that's right Football, not soccer...). The world's best players still want to play for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona not Columbus Crew or LA Galaxy (apart from Beckham). If US supporters want to see players at the peak of their game coming to play in the US, they need to break away from the US model of restrictive practices and let the market dictate terms, salaries and contracts.

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