Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MLS Cup Final Should Be Home and Home Aggregate Series

The formula is pretty simple, yet not commonly known by sports fans.  The aggregate system in FIFA international tournament soccer adds up the goals of two games, one home game for each team, to determine the winner.

I have to admit that the aggregate way has grown on me. Originally, I was against it.  I thought a two out of three series was the better way to settle things (and I could probably be persuaded again for the two out of three, but...).

I've watched the aggregate play out in soccer around the world and I've gotten used to it.  I like it because it keeps players completely engaged from start to finish for both matches, as every moment counts.

I think it is best to use it for the MLS Cup Finals.  Unfortunately, only one match produces the MLS Cup winner.

This season's MLS Cup Final is hosted by Sporting KC versus Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park, Saturday, December 7th at 4p.m. EST.  (Why 4p.m. is hard to figure out, but these playoffs have been sporadic and unorganized already in terms of scheduling.  And, Sporting versus Real sounds a little weird for our ethnocentric neurons, I know.  But, this discussion is for a different day or read here to discuss more about MLS nicknames.)

Most leagues throughout the world don't have playoffs.  The regular season determines the winner for that season/year.  MLS has decided to americanize its way to finding the champion of its league and does use a playoff system.

The aggregate system has its influence on many corners of world soccer.  In some competitions throughout FIFA Cup club tourneys, there are quarterfinals, semifinals and finals with home and home aggregates. Sometimes, whichever visitor scores more goals can be a factor for determining the winner when teams have a tie score after both matches have been played.

Here is the bone I have to pick with MLS Cup only being a one and done match.  Firstly, both teams have been through two rounds of the playoffs already with home and home aggregates, so it makes sense to continue the formula for consistency sake and allow the public to enjoy the competition they have just gotten used to.  Also, it makes sense for dramatic purposes and to give fans of both teams a chance to witness MLS Cup excitement.  Probably, the aggregate would intensify the Cup Finals and bring a bigger Tv audience for the second game.

Originally published December 2013

1 comment:

  1. Not sure. A one sided first of two games and/or just the space between the games dulls it down. I really do like the aggregate for qualifying rounds but similar to the UEFA Champions League the one game final is appropriate I would suggest. Neutral site might be better, but earning the home field also has advantages in rewarding the best season record. One game amplifies the intensity, you cannot bank on knowing a second game is pending. Just thoughts.