Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Promotion and Relegation in American Soccer

Since everybody and their brother has an idea of how promotion and relegation should work here in the States, I figured it was time for me to publish my idea of how it should be done. Here we go:

1. Move to a single table and scrap the play-offs as they are now. Just crown the regular season champion as your league champion. (As for the CONCACAF Champion's League, three berths would go to the top three teams from MLS with the fourth going to the US Open Cup Champion. If a team from outside the US is one of the top three teams, that team would get it's country's berth [ie- Toronto FC] and the next US-based team would go.)

2. The bottom three teams in MLS and USL-1 are in the relegation zone. The top three teams in USL-1 and USL-2 are in the promotion zone.

3. Take the bottom three MLS teams and randomly pit them against the top three USL-1 teams in a home-and-home series. Winner moves up, loser goes down. Do the same thing with bottom three in USL-1 and top three in USL-2. After all, if a lower division team isn't good enough to beat a higher division team head-to-head, does that lower division team really belong in the higher division? (And this gives Americans, who love post-season play, something to scratch that "play-off" itch.)

That's it, folks. Pretty simple, eh?

Now, I know that we are about ten to fifteen years from seeing promotion and relegation here. And, I know that many don't feel that USL-2 is strong enough to compete against the likes of USL-1 alone- to say nothing of MLS. But, I like the idea of three leagues (at least) being involved in a promotion and relegation system.

Instead of play-offs, these would be Battles. And, as we all know, cream rises to the top.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Either I'm A Psychic Or...

It's starting to look as if somebody is taking ideas right from this blog! Or maybe I've just been voicing some commonly held common-sense ideas. In previous posts, I talked about the need for a Champion's League, for the US Open Cup Champion to have a part in the Champion's League, and for the US Open Cup Champion to receive a $1 Million purse.

Of those three ideas, the first two have become reality. ( Here.) It was announced a few months ago that there would be a Champion's League for CONCACAF starting in August and another announcement a few days ago told that the US Open Cup Champion would indeed be taking part.

US Soccer? Is that you reading this blog? Are you going to announce a $1 Million purse for the Open Cup Champ this year? Please? I'm 2 for 3 right now, let me have the clean sweep! (Maybe it's a bit too much to ask that the Open Cup final be aired on ESPN2 also? Did you see my post about the Constitution Cup?)

The slots for the Champion's League will be given as follows:
First Slot: MLSCup Champion
Second Slot: MLS Supporter's Shield Winner
Third Slot: MLSCup Runner-Up
Fourth Slot: US Open Cup Champion

So this means that the four teams are Houston Dynamo (MLSCup Champ), DC United (MLS Supporter's Shield Winner), New England Revolution (MLSCup Runner-Up), and Chivas USA (The Revs won the Open Cup this year also, so the fourth slot is given to Chivas USA because they are MLS Supporter's Shield Runner-Up).

The first and second slots are seeded immediately into the group stage while the third and fourth teams have to go through the preliminary round first. Let's hope that Houston and DC both return to a champions form and that we can see New England and Chivas both advance to the group stage. Maybe four teams will give us the shot we need at getting past the Mexican teams. We'll see come August.