Don Garber Might Be Making It Worse

I really hope I'm wrong, but reading between the lines of MLS Commissioner Don Garber's comments following the Board of Governors meeting have me worried.

From what I can tell, he seems to have entirely missed what is annoying fans about the set-up of the playoffs. The problem, he seems to think, is that two Western Conference teams played in the Eastern Conference final. To an extent, I suppose he's right: That does look dumb.

He seems to think the way to fix that is by making sure two teams from the "wrong" conference don't meet in the conference final. If I'm reading his comments right, he'd rather tweak the playoffs so that only one team from the wrong conference can make it that far, thus ensuring at least one "right" conference team makes it to the conference final. This year, that would have meant the 39-point Kansas City Wizards getting in over the 46-point San Jose Earthquakes. If Garber really loses his mind, he could even bring back the four-and-four setup. This year that would have left us with 36-point Chicago leapfrogging the 46-point Rapids.

He also seems to be hinting that unbalanced schedules are coming back next year, despite there being room on the schedule to keep them balanced. I'm guessing he thinks this is the way to go because the league does not intend to expand the regular season when Montreal becomes MLS team No. 19, necessitating unbalanced schedules anyway.

An unbalanced schedule would help justify either of the playoff formats I'm envisioning, but it's hard to see how this could be done in a fair way. Either teams are going to have to change conferences — which would break necessitate splitting up rivals — or one conference will have two more teams than the other and make for even stranger scheduling.

If these are really the choices Garber is considering making, I think we're clearly better off with status quo for at least one more year.

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