Sunday, November 1, 2009

MLS and USL bits

New US Pro Soccer League Likely

It's looking more and more likely that there will be a new league in the US Soccer landscape after several sites reported that the new ownership of the United Soccer Leagues and the disgruntled team ownership group called the Team Owners Association have failed to come to an amiable agreement on terms to continue their relationship. Here's what Soccer by Ives, the Kartik Report, and Inside Minnesota Soccer have to say about it.

UPDATE: Here's yet another article saying that the new league application is to be turned into the USSF imminently.

MLS Playoffs Format Not Producing "Sexy Soccer"

Perhaps MLS should reconsider the format of their Conference Semifinals after the two first leg matches of this week's total goals Home and Away series produced terribly disjointed and overly physical affairs. Thursday night's Houston at Seattle 0:0 draw and yesterday's RSL 1:0 win over Columbus weren't what I would consider a good advertisement for free flowing attacking soccer. Of the two matches, the scoreless tie was the more exciting, and I think the crowd had a lot to do with that.

It's ironic that these two matches came on the heels of the MLS league office levied a fine of $5,000 DC United president Kevin Payne for criticizing negative soccer that some teams adopt in order to find results. Both visiting squads trotted out defensive minded game plans designed to limit creative players. At least the home teams attempted to score goals knowing that it wouldn't do well to sit and wait. Seattle was the more successful, but couldn't finish while hitting the woodwork and having two goal bound headers denied off the line.

In yesterday's match, RSL and Columbus did nothing except foul and dive in the hopes of fooling the referee Mark Geiger. Columbus did not even play thier most dangerous attacking players. Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Alejandro Moreno both sat on the bench for the match. Columbus coach Robert Warzycha seemed content to defend for the duration, and this approach seemed to work for 88 minutes, but somehow RSL found the net for a one goal lead going into the second leg.

Perhaps, it's time to turn to the Away Goals Rule as do most of the competitions that use the Home and Away series format. Without the Away Goals Rule, you see the visiting team being content to sit back and defend until they return to there home stadium. If the MLS league office believes that away goals aren't the way to go, just eliminate the series and go to the single elimination route. Give the team with the higher seed the single game at home. That way each team has one game to go out and do it in one match instead of marching out for a phantom 90 minutes until the second leg when it time to turn it on for real.

Here's hoping today's teams don't follow the same script that the teams in the first two Conference Semis have...

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