7 MLS teams lose to Amateurs teams – time for promotion and relegation?

Granted, in soccer, the best teams don’t always win, but this would sure suggest that those that complain that expanding the number of teams in the MLS would “dilute” the talent, might not be arguing on as firm a footing as they imagine. Good on the NASL for the “street cred” and giving young players more to aspire to and avenues to develop.

This is positive on many levels. One, it means that this is a fair and open competition (one hopes) where literally any team can advance toward the finals. In other words, not manipulated as in Italy to achieve a very marquee-like set of semi-finals and final. Two, parity. Are the NASL and USLPro leagues really that much worse? (look how close the game was in Richmond and Orlando.) Three, player caliber. Are there now some players with Carolina, San Antonio, and Minnesota that coaches in the MLS wish they hadn’t overlooked? How about Harrisburg? Portland and Seattle coaches can be very glad that their players got this very real, loud warning 24 hours in advance not that they paid attention in Portland. Perhaps these Cup results also point out very clearly that promotions and relegation could work. If lower teams have this kind of caliber in them, why not?

The Cinderella story of Eric Wynalda’s amateur Cal FC continued as the USASA team upset the Portland Timbers, 1-0, in overtime to move into the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, where it will face three-time defending champion Seattle Sounders. The fans are not fooled. Ask the Portland fans who attended the 0-1 loss that knocked them out last night. The Portland fans who were against their own players when they chanted, “Play like you care!” I am sure that the Portland franchise leadership is rather sour and embarrassed. (It is hardly a way to thank your fans who’ve been setting a record on sellouts.)

The 2012  season could not get any worse for the defending MLS champion Los  Angeles Galaxy. It fell to the Carolina RailHawks, winless in nine games in the NASL, 2-1, in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. Seven other MLS teams also fell to minor-league or amateur teams.

Third Round
May 30
Portland Timbers (MLS) 0 Cal FC (USASA) 1
Seattle Sounders (MLS) 5 Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) 1

May 29
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) 2 Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 1
Real Salt Lake (MLS) 1 Minnesota Stars (NASL) 3.
Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO) 3 New England Revolution (MLS) 3
(4-3 on penalties.)
Columbus Crew (MLS) 1 Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO) 2
Michigan Bucks (PDL) 3 Chicago Fire (MLS) 2
San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) 1 Houston Dynamo (MLS) 0
FC Dallas 0 Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO) 2
Sporting KC (MLS) 3 Orlando City (USL PRO) 2
Richmond Kickers (USL PRO) 1 D.C. United (MLS) 2
Philadelphia Union (MLS) 3 Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) 0
Charleston Battery (USL PRO) 0 New York Red Bulls (MLS) 3
Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 0 Chivas USA (MLS) 1
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) 1 Colorado Rapids (MLS) 3
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 2 Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) 1

Will Promotion and Relegation (PnR) work? Yes

Will PnR be allowed by current cartel members. That is a question that is probably answered – No.

The most recent results show that there is talent available in the USA. That the MLS hasn’t diluted all the talent. But it does call into question the ability of talent evaluators currently working for MLS clubs. And that the $60 mil bribe necessary to get into the MLS is just a bribe. It is not necessary to have that type of money to put together a quality soccer team.

Eventually there should be a single table with the champion determined on points. Playoffs make the regular season meaningless and do not determine the best team. The larger the sample size (single table regular season) the more likel it is that the best team comes out on top. In the USA we are about finding out who is the best.

Until then to help travel costs why not split the MLS into East and West divisions with a single table on each side (think baseball back in the day when they were getting started) and Eliminate most interleague play. Then designate a second east, second division west, third division east, and third division west. Each second division promotes 1 and each MLS division relegates 1. The each second division relegates 2 and each third division promotes 2. With several layers it allows time for a new club to work through the ranks and increase their staff. Parachute payments could help with teams moving down. Since the MLS is ‘single entity’ the pay for whomever is in the MLS will be relatively equal regardless of who gets promoted. The players on the promoted rosters then get MLS salaries.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 08:23 and is filed under Professional Soccer, Soccer Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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