mls portland timbers

US ready for playoff revision

MLS needs to finish Americanization of global football
Nov. 11, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Does anyone remember the Miracle at Providence Park? It was just two weeks ago, but the MLS Playoffs have essentially buried the excitement of the Portland Timbers' shootout victory over Kansas City in the first round of the league playoffs.

Fans owe that to the global soccer version of playoffs, which allows for each team to play a home game.

It's used across the world, and in the U.S. At least for part of the playoffs. It's time for the U.S. to complete its revamping of the world's playoff structure and ditch the home-home system.

Just play of game each round, and get to the championship game, which could be played Sunday if the league wanted.

That's a U.S. playoff system - one game with the winner moving on. U.S. football uses it, and MLS does to, at least for the first round, and then the final. The conference semis and finals are the problem, with each team getting a home game in each round. All it truly does is extend the playoffs and make them less exciting.

Get to the championship game - that's the point of the playoffs, especially with all the inter-league and national team matches going on.

If the Timbers eventually do reach the MLS Cup, it'll be nearly six weeks after the win over Kansas City because of the home-home series, and a week off for national team play. From the start of the season til the Cup, the Timbers will have played nine months starting March 7. Not even baseball, which has a 162-game regular season, plays that long.

MLS already has a U.S. version of regular season play, which separates the league into two conferences rather than one full table. And, there's no relegation/promotion with the next level league. So, it's a U.S. version of soccer. The playoffs are the final step to Americanizing the global game, which the league needs to do to capture the excitement of games like Portland's win at Providence Park, Oct. 29, 2015.



Timbers right in playoff hunt

After a home draw with KC, Portland remains among to six in the West
Sept. 10, 2015 /

PORTLAND - With a 0-0 draw against Sporting Kansas City Wednesday, the Portland Timbers remained tied for fifth place in the Western Conference and within striking distance of the league's top record.

They just need to score some goals for that to happen.

Portland continued its season-long struggle to score with the outcome, which combined aggressive offense with determined defense. The Timbers outshot the visitors 18-8 on the night and had eight on target, but KC goalkeeper Tim Melia had a career-high seven saves in the match with one shot being stopped by a defender. Portland finished with an 8-2 edge in shots on goal with much of the offense being sparked by midfielder Diego Valeri.

Overall, the Timbers improved to 11-9-8, 41 points, entering a game Sept. 20 at Providence Park against the New York Red Bulls, who lead the East with 45 points and 45 goals.

Portland is last amongst the 12 current playoff teams in both conferenses, with just 29 in 28 games. The other 11 teams have each scored at least 34 goals. Only one team: the Colorado Rapids; have scored fewer goals - 26. The Rapids are last in the West.

The Timbers remained last in the league in first-half goals with just seven.

San Jose sits just two points behind both Portland and Kansas City with 39 points.

Vancouver leads the league with 48 points with six games remaining.


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