Garber: 'It's Frustrating As Hell' To Constantly Be Changing Playoff Structure

Just like lots of the national punditry, Don Garber was not particularly pleased that a Western Conference team will be representing the Eastern Conference in the MLS Cup final.

Even if this is the third straight year a team has represented the "wrong" conference in the championship game, Garber doesn't see any problems that can't be fixed while still keeping the general framework of the playoffs.

"We will never do away with playoffs," Garber said. "There is aboslutely no reason to do it. We will always have playoffs.

"The question is do we have playoffs that are constructed differently. Do we add games? Do we make the playoffs longer? All of these things can happen in a single-table format. Right now we believe conferences are good, but we’ll look at that construction, too."

Garber admitted that he'd rather see a static playoff structure, but said that's the nature of the league as long as it is evolving.

"We are frustrated with the constant tinkering," Garber said. "But we have to be brave enough to know we are still in the middle of the process. To keep things the way they are for consistency basis would be wrong.

"At some point, we’ll be done expanding. But expansion is good. We have to continue to evolve. We’ll settle into a permanent system in the next three to five years but probably not before then.

"It’s furstrating as hell, but it’s conceivable we will change them every year (for the next three seasons to accommodate expansion teams in 2011, '12 and possibly '13)."

In addition to the possibility of adding games, Garber suggested the league could also expand the playoffs to include additional teams as well as potentially move the MLS Cup from a predetermined city to the home stadium of one of the participating teams.

"It would be great to see local fans celebrating a championship in their market," Garber said. "Boy, there’s something special about that home team playing in front of their fans for a championship."

From the sound of it, two things seemed to have an effect on Garber's thinking regarding the championship game. Reading between the lines a little, he seems to have really appreciated the environment Sounders fans created during their U.S. Open Cup title game. On the opposite side, Toronto FC fans' displeasure with being forced to buy tickets for Sunday's game as part of their season-ticket package did not go unnoticed.

"I didn’t expect Toronto to end the season on the note with their fans they did," Garber said.

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