Garber discusses playoffs, expansion in State of MLS address

Don Garber (

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Don Garber outlined his visions for MLS in his annual state of the league addressed on Tuesday afternoon.

In a conference call with the media, commissioner Garber touched on a number of potential changes MLS today including expansion into New York City and the Southeast, the new Reserve League and much more.

The initial highlight of the State of MLS was the commissioner's slip that David Ferriera will be announced as the MLS MVP.  During the call, Garber stated that the MLS Cup will contain a player who will be involved an upcoming announcement. The MLS MVP will be announced on Friday. The FC Dallas midfielder was announced as a finalist several weeks ago along with Edson Buddle and Chris Wondolowski. 

Garber stated that, pending approval from the MLS Board of Governors, MLS rosters will expand to 30 in 2011, up from 24 this season. The roster spots will be available for players under the age of 24 and will not count against a team's salary cap.

2011 will also mark the return of MLS' reserve division. According to the commissioner, teams will be able to place players from their academies, those on trial and players, who hold the latter six roster spots in the reserve league in hopes of developing their own prospects.  

The commissioner also said teams will play 34 matches in 2011, but it was not yet known whether it will be a balanced schedule or an imbalanced one to enhance rivalries. Garber also announced that changes to the playoff format are expected.

Garber also addressed the playoffs, saying there may be changes to the number of teams that make the playoffs. Garber said that there is a possibility that the 2011 MLS Cup Final that will take place in the stadium of the higher-seeded finalist, while also dismissing any possibility of MLS ever eliminating the playoffs and crowning the team with the best record as league champion.

"We will never do away with playoffs," Garber said. "There is absolutely no reason to do that. I know that it exists in other soccer leagues, though not all. All have been around for hundreds of years, all that don't have the competition that we have. We will always have playoffs."

In terms of expansion, Garber announced that New York is on the top of the expansion list, with 2013 a potential season for the new team's arrival. The commissioner announced that there have been a number of conversations about a franchise in New York including conversations with the representatives of a prospective New York Cosmos franchise. Garber said there will be a focus on growing rivalries with more teams in a closer vicinity to one another.  The Red Bulls have stated that they are open to the possibility of a second team in the New York market.

Regarding expansion into the South, Garber saidt it was highly unlikely that when MLS is finished with expansion that there will be no teams in the South. The league has not had a team south of D.C. United since the folding of the Miami Fusion and the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001. Garber outlined Atlanta and Miami as just a pair of cities that the league is interested in expanding in. 

"We are very focused on local rivalries being a key driver in growing our clubs' relevance, and by growing local relevance, we believe that can translate into national relevance," said Garber. "Rivalries really do matter. While we have been very focused on broadening our footprint. We do believe we need to have more rivalries and that a second team in New York will help us do that.

"That being said, I can't imagine this will be a league, when all is said and done, that does not have teams in the South."

What are your thoughts on Commissioner Garber's comments? Like the idea of a second New York team? Relieved to hear that changes to the playoff format are being consdered?

Share your thoughts below.

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197 Responses to Garber discusses playoffs, expansion in State of MLS address

  1. bob says:


  2. ELAC says:

    Welcome New York Cosmos! There, I said it first.

  3. dan says:


  4. kydetwsoc says:

    amen brother

  5. Hutskizzle says:

    At this point, i think Garber is just trying to be different. Anything other than a balanced schedule next season would be a complete farce

  6. Jeremy says:

    I am encouraged by this news. I like the idea of the reserve league and the increased roster size. That should help out teams that are playing in multiple competitions throughout the season.

  7. A.S. says:

    It is interesting that there is apprently no thought to capping the size of the league at 20, which is the max size of most other leagues.

  8. DemonJuice says:

    Increasing the number of rivalry games does the opposite of enhancing them. It dilutes them and makes each one less meaningful.

  9. Tim F. says:

    They never should have done away with the reserve league in the first place. How many games will each team play in the reserve league?

  10. dan says:

    I realize that no team with a DP has won the MLS cup, but does any one know how teams with DP’s have won the supporter’s shield?

  11. CrispyST3 says:

    I live in Los Angeles, and i was in Hollywood blvd, and on a parking meter, the NY Cosmos logo was on it, it was a sticker. I got so excited, i even took a picture of it, tho my friends were like, “huh?” I hope they come back, tho i wasn’t even born when they played I understand their history and hope to see them in my lifetime.

  12. Upstate Jason says:

    Most other leagues aren’t in countries with 344,000,000 in population (US & Canada).

    That said, I’m all for capping it at 20 and then building functional D2 and D3 leagues.

  13. CrispyST3 says:

    That is because their countries arent as big as ours. And also because some countries, have a 1st, 2nd and 3rd division. England, has 4 divisions.

  14. Duck says:

    From MLS website: 3 regional divisions of 6 teams. Each team plays the others in its division twice for 10 games. Top 8 reserve teams go to the playoffs.

  15. Second City says:

    I’d like more thought given by MLS brain-trust to adding value, credibility and overall importance to the Supporter Shield.

    Not just for the sake of home field advantage but an actual ceremony on par with MLS Cup hoopla etc

  16. Duck says:

    They also are allowed to play 2nd and 3rd division teams.

  17. jm says:

    playoffs suck “.”

  18. redflash says:

    worried about diluting interest by expanding southeast. how long will new franchises be able to sustain themselves when only 8 of 20+ make the playoffs?

  19. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Hooray for almost all of this.

    1) Didn’t realize the six new roster slots weren’t going to impact the salary cap. That is huge for teams taking the hit for two or three DPs, especially since those are the teams that also have the money to spend on additional quality players when not restricted by the cap.

    2) Awarding the Cup final to the highest-seeded team will make a much better atmosphere and presentation to showcase the league, and will also make the now-largely-symbolic race for the Supporters’ Shield (and higher seeds in general) much more significant. The other option would be two legs.

  20. Starla says:

    England has something like 10 divisions. A lot of local 10:th divisions.

  21. .ORG says:

    Cap the league growth at 24 teams.

    That way the last 5 teams can be New York, Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis and 1 other

    that 1 other could be Charlotte or Phoenix or Minneapolis or Nashville

    but no more than 24.

  22. alex says:

    that is because your team isnt in the final

  23. Seriously says:

    We have several divisions too buddy. But not too many people want the whole pro-rel thing (myself included) the lower divisions should be like minor leagues. I’m all for expanding past 20 teams especially since I’m in the south and don’t have a team to call my own yet.

  24. Done with Garber says:

    I’m done with complaining about the stupid play off system. I’ve moved onto calling for Garber’s resignation. This guy doesn’t want to listen to fans, it’s time that the devoted, yet totally ignored fan base activate their power. Year after year, we’re ignored. This guy focused his attention on soccer moms, and then moves onto Latinos when that doesnt work. All the while ignoring the fans who have done the most for the league since 1996. Screw him, I’m done with Garber. Waddaya say?

  25. .ORG says:

    oh and ditch the playoffs once we have 20-24 teams. No need for that anymore. single table please

  26. .ORG says:

    Every team needs to have 2 DP’s.

    It will help in the next few years. Doesn’t have to be 30 something Euros. How about young and emerging talent from South America. Loads of 25-28year olds who play for their national team and are stars at their clubs. Would be perfect DP’s for the community.

    also search Mexico for players. Loads of them would come here to play. It will attract fans for sure.

  27. Seriously says:

    Finals should not be two legs that is just dumb. The conference “finals” (which should be changed to MLS Cup semi-finals) should be two legs though and not just one.

  28. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Every time I’ve read anything from Garber about expansion up until now he has clearly intimated that the league wants to get to 20 teams quickly, then take a break for a few years to determine whether and where to continue expansion.

    Wonder if there’s an actual change in direction, or just something lost in translation.

  29. Seriously says:

    24 is a pretty good number.

  30. lolo says:

    good for ferreira he is the best mls 2010

  31. Seriously says:


  32. kev says:

    Cap the league at 22 teams.

    Work on USL. Make it a proper 1st division. Like say 16 teams. Relegation might work in 10-20years but not now. Emphasize the USL as a sorta minor league.

    We could work on a proper 3rd division but not really necessary. Our 2nd division aka USL could borrow more players from colleges.

  33. Seriously says:

    Not gonna happen, this isn’t Europe. We don’t have to Euro-pose…not to mention other leagues use playoffs as well.

  34. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    I agree about the final, my only point was that it is an option the league had discussed in past years.

  35. kev says:

    so is LeToux heading back to France? Perhaps a Ligue 2 side brings him home?

    any chances Gonzalez or Ream use Camp Cupcake as a spring to heading overseas next year?

  36. Seriously says:

    @4 is a better number than 22. Relegation won’t work ever. It’s all about the money baby, not to mention I don’t want the chance of my team dropping off the face of the planet, do you? I agree the lower divisions should be looked at as a minor league and used as such.

  37. Seriously says:

    that should of course be 24 not @4

  38. Dudeinho says:

    it works for baseball

    keep it at 8

    just make all the series home and away

    as well as a two leg final

    or give the supporters shield winner a clear path to the final and hosting it. they what two weeks to sell tickets?

  39. Brad says:

    I wish that Garber would use the away goals rule, and that the playoffs were always a home and away series. Home field advantage and the ability to score on the road should count in determining who is the better side.


  40. Cairo says:

    Mostly good news, especially the expanded roster. The ability to sign six guys under 24 who don’t count under the cap will help us in the CCL. Under current roster limitations, making it far in the CCL meant mortgaging your MLS season. Of course, it only helps if teams are willing to spend $$ to get some talent in these spots.
    I don’t quite get the criticism of Garber right now. I don’t love the guy, but he is listening to the fans when he says the playoffs will be tweaked and that they are considering playing the final in the highest remaining seed’s stadium. That’s the only way these games are going to sell out, unless there’s a lucky convergence. I don’t want more teams in the playoff, though.
    As for expansion, we’re not stopping at 20, and we’re not going to have relegation. It’s pointless to get upset about these things. 24 is about right, as long as growth is gradual with good owners. It’s impossible to have a pro league without southern teams, esp. given that soccer is popular in much of the region.
    MLS was vastly improved this season–let’s hope things continue to trend upward

  41. Emerald_City_Jason says:


  42. DingDong says:

    How about giving Concacaf Champions League spots to the Supporters Shield winner and the second-place finisher? Casual fans — the ones we have to have the dumb playoffs for — don’t really care about the Champions league, so they won’t care if the runner-up to the MLS Cup doesn’t play in the Champions League.

  43. DingDong says:

    “It’s impossible to have a pro league without southern teams”

    What’s impossible about it?

  44. BellusLudas says:

    I used to be one of those “purists” calling for a single table and pro/rel….I changed my mind.

    Our country is very large and needs more teams to complete the Div 1 footprint. 30 teams would not be too many.

    Because there is a large discrepancy between what it costs to bring a MLS team into the league as compared to NASL pro/rel won’t work for YEARS AND YEARS.

    Therefore, we need something to spice up the season and that something is called…the playoffs.

    Hate me but you know I’m right…. :-)

  45. The King of Norway says:

    Listen to what the wise man said!!

  46. jm says:

    I really don’t care which team was in the final, it just doesn’t make sense, I don’t think it makes sense in most sports actually…a complete seasons results apparently mean nothing for one game…lameness.

  47. Goalscorer24 says:

    The reserve league is good news!

  48. The King of Norway says:

    That’s 100% absolutely true and correct. Let’s stick with the balanced schedule please!

  49. jm says:

    I wann know if le toux will ever get a us nat team callup

  50. MSnats says:

    As someone who lives in the southeast, I can testify that there would be lots more interest here if we had even one or two teams.

    Right now, the only time I get a chance to see an MLS game is when Chicago Fire comes to town for a preseason friendly.

  51. jm says:

    this could just as easily be called a “tournament” could it not? It really has no impact on who should win the league.

  52. MSnats says:

    Agree with 24,but then again, I am from the southeast.

  53. Aristophanes says:

    The Red Sox and Yankees play almost 20 games a year. Every game is intense.

  54. Travis says:

    I am a believer in a 20 team league which means in my mind they should add only one more team (since Portland, Vancouver and Montreal already are getting teams). I would like to see it in Atlanta, I see no need to add more teams to the NE region when they do not even draw that well currently. That region already has Philly, DC United, Red Bulls and the Revolution. I think getting a team into the South is far more important

  55. nam says:

    Probably means less not more…top team in each conference goes straight to semi with the next 4 battling each other in the previous round.

  56. Erik says:

    Great picture of Garber. It has the look of someone who was just discovered by his friends to be guilty of farting in the elevator.

  57. Cheechoomi says:

    Great comments everyone. MLS is a much improved league, especially the last 2 seasons or so. I like the idea of expansion but 24 seems like a good cap. Then have 12 teams make playoffs…I mean NHL and NBA have just about half the teams make it. 12 still gives the option of the 2 leg aggregate format…..kinda like the round of 16 in the UEFA Champs League (a great example of a playoff system used by one of the greatest competitive soccer leagues in the world!)

    But I agree that the Conf. Finals should be renamed the MLS Cup Semis and make that a 2 leg aggregate format format as well with MLS Cup remaining a winner take all game (much like the Quarters, Semis and Finals of the UEFA Champs League).

    Anyway, I am excited for some of these changes….now as a Revs fan…Mr. Kraft needs to build a soccer specific stadium on his vast track of land next to Gillette and Patriot Place (retail, restaurant, entertainment and hotel complex) to keep up with what the NYRB have done (y’know the good ‘ol NY/Boston rivalry). Revs have a great following up here in NE but Gillette is a canyon venue for soccer….plus Revs need to get back to a MLS Cup and actually win one…..ugh.

  58. Holiman says:


  59. dman says:

    uhhhh Columbus with GBS…. he was a DP the year they won the cup and shield

  60. smits says:

    love this idea, hate expansion

    though I think if anything happens it will be expansion- it means more money for the owners

  61. DanC says:

    LeToux will get a call up by the U.S. in 2018, right around the same time that he actually becomes a U.S. citizen…… Three things to remember here JM: 1. Playing in MLS does not auto qualify you to represent the U.S. in international play, 2. you MUST be a U.S. citizen, not just a green card holder to represent the NATS and 3. I will never get these 30 seconds of my life back that I used to explain this, again, because you are an ignorant dope! Have a good night.

  62. john.q says:

    can we all forget about abolishing the playoff system. this is america folks! average sports fans here are used to playoffs, plus it is in ways a more climactic end to a season. if the team is truly worthy of the championship then they need to win those big games, end of story. those players must show up for those games that matter the most.
    capping the league at 20 teams is just unrealistic. the USA and Canada are too large to only have 20 teams! to compete against the NFL, MLB, etc. MLS must get bigger and bigger, reaching into more markets to create more money-spending fans.

  63. Colin Cowheard says:

    1. Forget the play-offs let use the BCS rankings

    2. Atlanta not a sports town children

    3. Pimped in Vegas they would be great for MLS

  64. scaryice says:

    Playoffs don’t belong in soccer, period. This isn’t just another American sports league. If they actually increase the number of teams, I may be done as a fan.

  65. Scott A says:

    Agree agree agree

  66. Adam M. says:

    I think the end goal of MLS should be two first division leagues consisting of 18-20 teams in seperate single tables with an overall champ determined from the winner of each leagues’ playoffs. Like the old AL-NL before interleague.

  67. Scott A says:

    Na, it’s been diluted. I agree with DemonJuice.

  68. Slyboy says:

    uh… Right, i dont always agree with the Don, but i am glad he is at the helm

  69. CSD says:

    good bye

  70. adam says:

    actually, GBS wasn’t a DP at the time the Crew won the cup and shield in 2008. he was signed to a DP contract following that season.

  71. Adam M. says:

    The World Cup, European Championship, Champions League, Copa Libertadores and every League Cup I can think of are all playoffs, so the notion that playoffs and soccer don’t mix is more than a little silly. I don’t mind playoffs, but I would give the team with the most regular season points home field advantage throughout, including the final, and would expand them to include home-home series until the final with away goals.

  72. CSD says:

    There are soccer playoffs in the UK. The playoffs have been very well received as a means to increase the intensity of promotions.

    “On May 21, 2006, in the play-off final against Leeds United, DeMerit headed in the game’s first goal and was named Man of the Match as Watford gained promotion to the Premier League by defeating Leeds United 3-0. Soon afterwards, he joined the ranks of athlete-musicians by releasing a single entitled “Soccer Rocks”, available in the club shop.”

  73. slyboy says:

    oh snap!, someone let you out of bigsoccer. Playoffs most definitly belong in soccer. Hell before MLS only watched the mexican league, so i thought all leagues had playoffs.

  74. CSD says:

    I would give higher seed teams a bye week and the lower seed teams would have to win an extra game. Kind of like wildcard games in the NFL.

  75. Cody says:

    No disrespect but from what I understand from the article is that it will be the highest-remaining seed. As in the highest not making the playoffs. I could be wrong though.

  76. JoeW says:

    I don’t know how many but you have LAG with Beckham and Donovan winning the SS this year.

    The other thing that is important to note is that technically, while the DP thing began with Beckham, realistically, since year one the league has had players (like Marco Etcheverry) who were paid above the league’s maximum salary and were effectively DP’s (they just weren’t called that). And using that standard, a number of teams have won MLS Cups with players making above the $350K cap amount for an individual salary.

  77. WeatherManNX01 says:

    What he said.

  78. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    None taken, but I’m positive the meaning of “remaining” is “remaining alive,” so this year it would be in Dallas. The point of modifying “seed” with “highest-remaining” is to indicate that the final game wouldn’t go to the Supporters’ Shield winner irrespective of whether the Supporters’ Shield winner makes it to the Cup.

  79. K-Town says:

    Winning supporters shield got LA into next years Concacaf Champions League.

  80. K-Town says:

    If the six additional slots are for players under 24 (24 and under?) does that mean theoretically you can sign a young DP for no hit to the salary cap. Say like a 22 year old Messi? LOL, I know, it won’t happen, just asking.

    Loophole perhaps?

  81. ThaDeuce says:

    many college football coaches, players, and fans want the playoffs. Nobody around NFL, NBA, MLB, OR NHL, want to get rid of the playoffs. It may be American, but the system is good. The season dictates who gets to the play-offs, which clearly, is very meaningful.

  82. Starla says:

    They should stop trying to be a generic North American sports league. The running shootouts at draws, the countdown clock. Every time they remove something they thought they had to have to attract Americans, the league grows. Now they are finally phasing out the draft “that American leagues must have” for academies, and the cap regulations by implementing loopholes. The rest will go too, it will just take time for the owners to understand the sport.

  83. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Ives, that photo is priceless!

  84. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    And they won the SS that season, did they not? Questioned answered. Them, and of course, the Galaxy this year with their two DP’s.

  85. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Wha??? What in the name of Slim Pickens does MLS have to do with the USL? MLS needs to worry about MLS.

  86. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:


  87. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    This just in….the SS winner already gets a spot in the CCL.

  88. Alexandria says:

    Atlanta not a sports town? Please, Atlanta supports teams who actually go out and play to win, they support teams with management who actually knows what they are doing, put a good team in Atlanta and it will do well, Market it like college football and watch what happens plus besides the braves, six flags, the lake, white water and the aquarium theres not much else to do during the summer, I say bring MLS to atlanta I will be first in line for season tickets.

  89. Supsam says:

    Give credit to where its due. He does alot of silly things but Garber is the reason the MLS survived the early years. Go start your one man riot elsewhere

  90. jm says:

    that is your own fault, you shouldn’t of replied.

  91. Supsam says:

    it will piss of FMF fans and thats a plus!

  92. Alexandria says:

    Umm this is North America!!! and no offense but the American model works pretty damn well, ManU are the biggest sporting club in the world and right behind them are the yankees, think about that? The yankees are probably only popular in New York and Japan, but ManU plays the “worlds game” they have the entire world and the Yankees have a small segment and they are seperated by a few million in net worth, that is crazy MLS doesn’t need to become ManU, but they will do just fine becoming the Yankees.

    The draft has to stay for people who don’t grow up in an MLS market, The playoffs stay because no one cares who wins the regular season, The EPL,La Liga and Serie A are all decided by christmas, what is so fascinating about that?

    In MLS the small teams have a chance, you don’t have to spend out of your mind on a guy like Jimmy Bullard just to watch your team go down, you can also turn a team around faster.

    If MLS just copies all the other leagues what would be the point, you’d just watch the other leagues, MLS has to differentiate itself,besides all the soccer snobs won’t just magically start watching because MLS rebranded itself to the American Premiership, they don’t watch for a reason,and MLS is doing just fine without them.

  93. Supsam says:

    Im glad MLS does not use the ridiculous away goals rule that other ppl use. To me, a goal is a goal no matter where it is scored. One goal should not be worth more than another cuz it was scored somewhere else. It pretty much cancels out home field advantage

  94. Brian says:


  95. Tim M. says:

    just do it like the nba does it. no shame in that.

  96. Tim M. says:

    we’re a completely different league then any other out there. we’ll go beyond 20. Sepp Blater can say what we want’s, but in the end, Soccer, is going to be treated like any other American sport.

  97. elduderino says:

    agree with demon juice. increasing games against rivals dilutes it.

  98. Brian says:

    Is the Somerville thing dead? The Revs do need a SSS but I think building it in Foxborough would be a bad idea. Too far from Boston.

  99. Tim M. says:

    In my opinion, its stupid to think that a balanced schedule is the way to go. Rivalries across the board in any sport make each and every Region hate teams that play there’s more and more.

    Me being from the south, Cowboys and Redskins, Eagles. Spurs and Rockets, Mavs and the Nuggs and Thunder are always more intense and more hyped by the fans.

    I don’t study viewing ratings by a can guarantee, those sort of match up, gather more attendance in the stands and viewing on TV.

    Im sure anyone from any part of the country can say the same thing.

    FCD/Houston. Timbers/Sounders. DC/Revolution.

  100. Tim M. says:

    Surely, we can all agree that the playoffs take away the importance of the supporters shield? PPL talked about RSL all year long, not Columbus.

  101. Tim M. says:

    The struggling Columbus, outshined by the Red Bulls I might add.

  102. Tim M. says:

    And with every disappointing, year in the tourney for MLS teams there’s nothing but controversy.

  103. Tim M. says:

    With more team’s there will be more, teams in the playoffs, and hopefully the legs will come sooner then having to wait a week!

  104. Tim M. says:

    As a Dallas supporter through and through, admittingly, I’m just afraid of what a disaster it would of been to have staged the finals there. That said, Garber won’t make that sort of decision nxt season if we, KC are staging the finals

  105. Tim M. says:

    Phoenix would be good place to put a team logistically for MLS

  106. Tim M. says:

    Those complaints should be targeted to certain owners rather than Garber.

  107. Tim M. says:

    When we’re ranked in the top 5 leagues in the world maybe.

  108. Tim M. says:

    Idk about that one. AarΓ³n Galindo, who is like a fringe CB on the national team, like maybe a Chad Marshall to us, stated about two months back that he wanted to play in the US this upcoming season, with a figure in his head of like 2,000,000.

    Upcoming youngsters wouldn’t want to jump ship from their Mexican teams. There’s too much a heritage and pride behind it to come to an MLS team. That and if nobody’s noticed, their wages are considerably higher for the average player in Mexico.

  109. Tim M. says:

    Agreed. Donovan agknoledged earlier in the year before they announced Buddle was canidate that he would vote Ferreira MVP. He has a lot of respect for the guy. He’s pure class.

    But! He’s still on loan from Athletico Paranese. Dallas is gonna have to spend a lot of change to buy his contract. Plus he’ll probably get a pay raise. DP pay raise that is.

  110. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Why is it hard to understand that we can have a single table AND playoffs?

  111. Tim M. says:

    USL is 3rd division as it is already.

    If im not mistaken, I think the only credible team USL has right now is like the Charleston Battery. Atlanta Silverbacks, Wellington Hammerheads?

    One things for sure Austin’s been bought and moved to Orlando, and make no mistake, the new ownership will have plans to move the the NASL, the legit (almost) 2nd Division.

  112. Tim M. says:

    yea, well we can all hope he marries an american wife, can’t we?

  113. Tim M. says:

    I think he means a league, were in Memphis, they be’s like “Whats MLS? Oh you mean where that David Beckham fellow makes his living?”

  114. Tim M. says:

    They can’t even Support the Silverbacks. Why would anyone in their right mind want that Over the NY Cosmos?

  115. Tim M. says:

    Revs fans deserve better. All valid points btw.

  116. Tim M. says:

    The Yankee’s do have a lot of South America, but their probably in contention for the title of “The World’s Second Most Popular Sport” with Cricket (Sadly) and Rugby.

    The league is was young then and still growing. The idea’s in the beginning were very Radical, but if they FO, behind the league were complete idiots hey, we still be playing one on one’s with the Keeper back in the original NASL days. That seemed to be pretty popular.

  117. Tim M. says:

    Get an Owner who’s willing to build a 20,000 seater and then we’ll talk.

    Vegas did wonders for the NBA All Star Game

    If they could have a team on par with like the Cosmos, then i’d say he’ll yes bring it a team to Vegas.

  118. hoosh says:

    Honestly, the playoffs system does a great job of attracting new fans, in addition to the awesome, loyal fanbases for each franchise. The single table also remains relevant because of Supporter’s Shield (CCL Bid), which is definitely consolation for our Galaxy getting annihilated by FCD.

    I think the Pro/Rel system is really cool… for established franchises and sports leagues. It is grossly premature to propose such an idea for the MLS, which is still in its infancy. On the contrary, I think it would be awesome if they did this for the NBA or NHL, where crappy franchises get demoted to secondary leagues and small-town franchises get to play with the big boys (and get dominated).

  119. Tim M. says:

    I think Garber tries to draw from all american playoff systems. Think about it. We have the best opportunity in front of us.

    As a fledgling American Sport, we have time, to figure this out, and we are slowly making very good progress.


  120. Tim M. says:

    the playoff matches would be the same.

    there would just be no promotion and relegation.

    but, what you have MLS name the two different Brackets

    MLS Cup Group A and Group B.

    That would imply inferiority to the average fan.

  121. Tim M. says:

    I would agree with everything you said, besides you last point of implementing it in, for instance the NBA

    The Crappier Teams (D-League…CBA) just really don’t have the finance’s or stadiums to contend with, we’ll, even old Seattle Sonics.

  122. Joamiq says:

    Roster expansion + return of reserve division = awesome.

    “All have been around for hundreds of years”… I don’t think there is ANY soccer league that has been around for hundreds of years.

    I really don’t want another team in NY. I don’t know how I would feel about them.

  123. Joamiq says:

    Such an owner exists. His name is Arthur Blank.

  124. Lorenzo says:

    I know!

    I mean you can do real well in a season, earn a spot in Champs Group Stage, and then get knocked out in a play-off game??? UEFA what are you thinking.

    And 2 years of WC qualifying and group stage only to get knocked out in a playoff match in a world cup.

    Dude no one will enjoy this… (sarcasm)

  125. LittleMaradona says:

    And lasts 8 hours.

  126. ciscokid says:

    A two leg final IS dumb. It should be a best of 3, and goals don’t carry over. Each game is it’s own entity with a required winner. Now THAT’S American.

  127. scaryice says:

    Those are cup competitions, not playoffs. League champions shouldn’t be decided by playoffs (and regardless of the name, the Champions League is a cup).

  128. Zach says:

    I’m in my right mind, and I want it in Atlanta. MLS / all the ignorant yankees who post on this website (not all of you, but some) are missing out on a hugeeeee soccer fanbase in the South.

    The metro Atlanta area has nationally acclaimed youth soccer (see Ricardo Clark, Jack McInerney) as well as the very trendy Midtown area of Atlanta. Guaranteed Atlanta would draw more fans than FC Dallas…..

  129. Zach says:

    ZING! Nice one Joamiq πŸ˜‰

    Tim M and the other haters can keep on hating. I know one day soon Atlanta will get its team…and I’ll be waiting anxiously in line for season tickets.

  130. Joamiq says:

    Haha, I’m not even from Atlanta, and as a Mets fan I should probably have some dislike for the city, but I’m pretty sympathetic to the idea of a soccer team there, and from what I’ve heard, I think Arthur Blank is willing to pay to make it happen. I hope it happens.

  131. T. Broun says:

    How about Ronaldinho to LA??? They have the$$$

  132. BC says:

    As for Garber mentioning about changing the number of teams in the playoff, we will most likely see a decrease after this year’s fiasco. My guess is that there will be either 4 or 6 teams to make the playoffs. I foresee the top two teams in the MLS get byes in the first round while the lower four seeds battle it out and meet in the top seeds conference finals.

    That being said, they need to fix the seeding/qualification format. Regional representation is important but is not outweighed by points achieved during the season. Therefore, I am in favor of a team in the west grabbing the number one seed in the “eastern conference” if they have more points and vice versa with the west. This means every game matters and will only help build rivalries and competition.

  133. Big Chil says:

    We Americans love our playoffs.

    Home and Away for each round, quarters, semis, and the Finals.

    This guarantees huge local support for each game, as opposed to a neutral MLS Cup site. Who’s going to Toronto?

    This is America’s unique contribution to “soccer.”

    Get on it, Garber.

    Any negatives?

  134. Big Chil says:

    Forgot to mention, more games = mo’ $$

  135. Michael says:

    Not sure anyone will read this this far down the comment listing, but here is MY vision for top-flight soccer in the United States and Canada (don’t stop reading just because you see the phrase ‘single table’, hear me out):

    – 20 teams, single table, balanced schedule, February to October. MLS regular season should have a specific structure, not games ‘whenever’. One game a week per team (1 Thursday night game, 4 Saturday early afternoon games, 4 Saturday late afternoon games, 1 Sunday night game). Use MLS All-Star Break to allow adjustment for midweek fixtures that would be necessary in a 38-game schedule, finish those by the end of September.
    — Cap expansion at 20 teams and focus on building a viable 2nd division; years later when it is profitable we can begin to think about promotion and relegation to give teams at the bottom of the table more to fight for.
    – Top team (1st place) at the end of the regular season is the Champion, they and the runners-up (2nd place) get automatic CL group stage berths (US or Canadian)
    – The 8 other teams (places 3rd through 10th) in the top half of the table playoff for the third CL berth in the preliminary round (US or Canadian)
    – National cup winners gets the final CL preliminary berths (US-only and Canadian-only)
    – End SuperLiga, put the money behind the US Open Cup. Rebrand the “US Open Cup” so that it is placed on a pedestal, and respected, cherished, something the fans want to win, with teams in CONCACAF play entering the latest, and the Final being the sport’s premier annual event in the US (called the “Soccer Bowl” as an homage to the NASL era).

    – The season format should look like this chronologically:
    Beginning of MLS regular season (February)
    CONCACAF Champions League Knockout Stage (February-April)
    “US Open Cup” Qualifying/Canadian Championship (April-June)
    Beginning of “US Open Cup” proper (June)
    MLS Rivalry Week the week of the MLB All-Star Game (July)
    MLS All-Star Game and a few summer friendlies for teams not in continental competition (July-August)
    CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary and Group Stages (August-October)
    End of MLS regular season (Early October)
    Semifinals of “US Open Cup” proper (Mid October)
    MLS Champions League Qualification Playoffs (Late October-November)
    “US Open Cup” Final, the “Soccer Bowl” (Thanksgiving night)

    This will accomplish a few things. It will allow us to crown a true champion, it will allow even MORE teams to have something to play for (and therefore more things for fans to be interested in), it will raise the profile of both our national cup and continental competition, it will decrease the impact of fixture congestion somewhat, and it will allow for a significant amount of time between qualification for an event (US Open Cup, CL playoffs) and the actual event itself for teams to market the game and sell tickets.

  136. baquito alyeska says:

    I just want the Revs on real grass. Plastic grass makes me sad panda.

  137. Ron Collins says:

    Garber “focused on rivalries?” If that were the case, the ONLY TWO TEAMS IN THE SOUTH would have been in the same division. He’s an a’hole twit that couldn’t even find a way to put the Fusion and the Mutiny to play in the same division, and couldn’t find an owner for a league-owned team in a city where the Steinbrenners AND the Glazers were extremely interested in buying the Tampa Bay franschise.

    Yeah, I’m still pissed. Vamos Mutiny

  138. Mango says:

    A healthy USL makes for a healthier MLS.

  139. Ferris says:

    Regardless of whether the system is good or American, it is full of $$$$$$.

  140. Ferris says:

    That’s a great strategy for Najar, Mwanga, and Zakuani.

  141. Lenny says:

    How about we move to a single table, abolish the term “playoffs,” and have the 1-8 teams qualify for the post-season MLS Cup Tournament?

  142. sarnold says:

    There are a couple things I don’t get. Can someone explain these to me?

    1. The road goals rule. How does it make since? Why is it better to tie 2-2 on the road or 0-0 at home than the other way around?

    2. Why do playoffs not belong in soccer? What makes soccer different than all the other sports that use post season tournaments? Should all sports adopt this policy or is it just soccer?

  143. fischy says:

    Way too big.

    The goal should be to spread the league to gain a national profile — to get fans invested in the league, in all four corners of the country and in between. Kinda like the NFL or baseball. 36-40 teams is insane. I suppose one could envision a future in 50 years or so, where 32 teams might be feasible — giving you your two separate 16 team tables. I’m not sure that’s ideal either. If it is divided along east-west lines, it would actually work against the national appeal. A north-south thing could be interesting, because it would allow for different seasons based on weather, but then they couldn’t compete. It would be hard to have two national leagues, though — and, it would be artificial. The NL/AL thing grew up organically.

    Personally, I think that 20 is a healthy number given the paucity of talent available, but the national reach isn’t there. I think the league is destined to expand beyond 20 teams, but I think the league should move slowly there, and should be capped at 24. The markets aren’t there for more teams.

  144. Ivan says:

    Single table. single table. Single table. Single table. New york and DC (Portland/Seattle) do non’t need to be in the same conference in order to hate each other.

    There is absolutely no justification or rational explanation for keeping conferences in MLS.

  145. fischy says:

    I think he’s said the same things all along. There will be a break in expansion…AND the league does want to move into the South. One or two teams there, possibly another midwestern/central team, possibly San Diego and possibly a southwest team.

  146. fischy says:

    I’m with you on this point. Once the league settles on divisions, rivalries will develop, but they might develop faster if hte teams play their division rivals more often.

    On the other hand, I’d be leery of a schedule that doesn’t involve each team playing each team…ideally twice.

  147. fischy says:

    I answered this on SI — 2 of 4 SS winners had DPs, while the other 2 teams had a player who became a DP in the offseason.

  148. fischy says:

    THeoretically, yes.

    Loophole? Hardly. MLS is trying to encourage the teams to bring in young, really talented foreigners. I think the league would be thrilled to see players like Messi, or even Keiran Richardson or Frederico Macheda.

  149. Felix says:

    Leave the playoffs as they are, only 8 teams, but get rid of the Conference designations.

    As for expansion, Garber just confirmed what we already knew what was coming, the 20th team is the NY Cosmos. For a team in the South, does that mean 21 teams or more? Possible moving of another MLS franchise like Chivas USA, or dare say DC United (with their terrible stadium situation).

  150. fischy says:

    Only if the calendar changes or they build a climate-controlled stadium for the team.

  151. fischy says:

    You mean he doesn’t listen to you.

  152. DC Josh says:

    Thank you. Agree.

  153. DC Josh says:

    Is that a good or bad thing for the club?

  154. Not a bad idea. This country is huge, there’s no reason we can’t have 32 teams in 2 divisions.

    19 Montreal

    20 New York

    21 Miami

    22 Atlanta

    23 St. Louis

    24 San Antonio

    25 Sacramento

    26 Indianapolis

    27 Jacksonville (possibly as the #21 team if the NFL Jaguars leave town)

    28 Ottowa

    29 San Diego (if Chivas doesn’t move there first)

    30 Phoenix (indoor stadium?)

    31 Las Vegas (indoor stadium)

    32 Birmingham (imagine the cooperation possibilities with Birmingham City of the EPL)

  155. fischy says:

    Too late for Zakuani — he’s going to be playing for COngo.

  156. And most of those divisions have teams dying out left and right because everyone wants to root for Man United or Chelsea. Give it twenty years and England will have no more then 6 divisions.

  157. DC Josh says:

    Playoffs are fun. We are American. Rejoice. Eat hot dogs and drink beer.

  158. fischy says:

    Let’s see — bringing in fan bases in Georgia, Florida, perhaps San Diego and an Arizona team or maybe St. Louis….


    keeping scaryice as a fan.

    Hmm…whatcha gonna do, Garber?

  159. giaco says:

    Garber out. You cannot have 1.0 management that is determined to stay 1.0 in a 2.0 world.

    That being said, a perfect example of this is the lack of ANY unified away support plans by the league that includes, teams and relevant supporter groups. This would include some sort of grievance policy and minimum expected outcomes and accountability for all parties. No, it wouldn’t be a blanket policy, something that should be mutable based on circumstance– but hey, they’ve looked the other way for this long, so why challenge the status quo even though now traveling support is very visible and will only increase with rivalry matches.

    To that point, it seems hapless for DG to say let’s focus on rivalries and intra-city derby’s but not actually do anything about ticket allotment or my aforementioned point on away support.

    His lip service needs to end. His time at the helm of MLS needs to end. Sorry Don, you’ve done this league a great service and we all thank you for that, but a wise man knows when his time is up, and it takes an even better man to do that.

  160. fischy says:

    “As for Garber mentioning about changing the number of teams in the playoff, we will most likely see a decrease after this year’s fiasco. My guess is that there will be either 4 or 6 teams to make the playoffs.”


    I want whatever you’re smoking.

    Garber’s thinking about expanding the number of playoff teams as the league gets bigger — not decreasing the number pf playoff teams. First-round byes area real possibility,though teams would rather host more playoff games, not fewer.

  161. fischy says:

    Sorry — did you say there should be soccer games in February?

    My head hurts…

  162. fischy says:

    “a perfect example of this is the lack of ANY unified away support plans by the league that includes, teams and relevant supporter groups. This would include some sort of grievance policy and minimum expected outcomes and accountability for all parties. No, it wouldn’t be a blanket policy, something that should be mutable based on circumstance– ”


    I’m an educated guy– college degree,3 post-graduate degrees. I recognize all the words you used, but I haven’t the faintest clue what you’re talking about.

  163. Kevin in NM says:

    Take your racist-lined rant elsewhere. The league would not have survived if it weren’t for Garber.

  164. Tim M. says:

    Humidity kills. Its worse in Texas!

  165. Ben says:

    Reserve league and roster expansion are both good things, I think. Still, it is moments like these when I wonder how these millionaires and billionaires became so. You want to expand MLS, how about filling the seats that already exist? Why is there such a drive to fill the South with a team? The US version of football is religion down there, so it not just a matter of correct marketing and thinking the previous owners failed on their own merits. Florida is a notoriously terrible sports market. The Devil Ray players were practically begging fans to show up, and they are a good team! The only reason the Heat draw is because of the glitz of this year, which will soon wear off, resulting in a half filled arena. People tend to like what other people like, whether for good reasons or silly reasons, so having unfilled stadiums on national TV does not encourage the casual or novice to stay on the channel. Anyhow, you might have guessed that MLS attendance irritates me.

  166. Ben says:

    Also, don’t the Mexican and many South American leagues have playoffs? Seems to be a new/old world divide.

  167. Tim M. says:

    I was talking about Vegas, but again if your going to stress that their should be a team in Atlanta before the Cosmos your an idiot.

  168. Tim M. says:

    In his yearly statement he just said he would increase if anything, but wouldn’t decrease the no. of teams.

  169. Ben says:

    Did I miss the part of the “cup competition” where it cannt be a playoff? The “cup competition” merely means that the competition is for a piece of silverware designated as a “cup,” just like Lord Stanley’s. It seems rather obvious that the structure of the “cup competitions,” at least after the initial group stage, are similar enough to be classified as playoffs.

  170. Ben says:

    *similar enough to playoffs to be classified as such.

  171. dc1819 says:

    We probably need to accept that there are going to be more playoff teams, or at best, the same number. I think the gripe people have with MLS playoffs is that the better teams throughout the year don’t get properly rewarded. And it’s not like a lower seeded team has to do too much to make it to MLS Cup. They just need to play three games, and it’s even possible to not win any of those games in regulation. That sucks. Since there are gonna be 20 teams in MLS in 2011, and it’s possible to have single table (not promotion/relegation of course, just elimination of conferences), why not something like this? 11 teams make the playoffs and are seeded 1 thru 11. Seeds 1 thru 5 get a bye, while teams 6 thru 11 play a 2 game aggregate goals series. So 3 series (6 v 11, 7 v 10, 8 v 9), with the winners advancing to play the next round. Then the 1 seed plays the remaining lower seed, etc. That will give 4 series in the next round of playoffs, which would be 2 game agg goals series. From there the semifinals would be 2 game agg goals series, to produce the two teams that would play in the MLS Cup Final. By doing this, the top 5 teams over the course of the regular season would be given an advantage for producing the goods over 34 games. Lower seeds will have to a) play more games in order to make it to the Final, and b) play more top teams along the way. This format would make it a lot more likely to get a top team into the semi’s and/ or Final. Plus, a team that makes it to the MLS Cup Final plays anywhere from 4 to 6 games (depending on seed) to make it to the Final. It just seems wrong that under the current format, and 8 seed can get hot (or lucky) at the end of the season over the course of only 3 games, and make it to the Final. Don’t we want the top teams making it into the Final? This way, it allows for a cinderella story to make it, but reduces the likelyhood that it would happen.

  172. Felix says:

    Without relegation battles and a marginalized Champions League, going single table and scrapping the playoffs would leave little to root for. Halfway through the season, half the league would have little to play for – it would be like being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan in July.

    In your proposed system, unless you were close to first place, the season would be pointless for 4/5 of the league. Very, very boring.

  173. Felix says:

    The average wage is higher in Mexico, the top-end/DP wages are higher in MLS.

    And I think some higher-profile Mexican players would like to play for a few years in the US. They could live a luxurious life, with a degree of public anomymity without the media scrutiny and make some big money while staying relatively close to their homeland. Not to mention the endorsement opportunities. Being in Chicago, I remember Blanco’s face in a good amount of ads, especially in predominantly Latino neighborhoods.

    It wouldn’t be for everyone, but for higher profile Mexican players, I think its a valid option.

  174. giaco says:

    not sure if there was a ‘glitch’ or if my comment was removed. too bad either way.

  175. giaco says:

    Oh sure, now I see where it went…..duh.

  176. Aaron says:

    St. Louis and Atlanta would be good additions along with another New York team, Miami has poor attendance in all their pro sports besides the Heat, Charlotte would be a better choice.

  177. Va Hoo says:

    I think growing the league to as many teams as possible is the best idea, with the hope of creating as many regional rivalries as possible.

    Just some places (think what’s happenings in the Northwest with Seattle-Portland-Vancouver) are:

    Richmond, Va. and Balitmore (DCU and Philadelphia)

    St. Louis and Omaha (KC and Chicago)

    There’s a lot of other places, but bigger city isn’t always better, sometimes you want places where there’s nothing to do to build a fan base. These aren’t tiny populations either, just no media market. But if you do it right, think any cares Green Bay is where it is?

    As for the playoffs, this may sound crazy, but it’s my idea. I would have a play-off in the middle of the season, in the middle of the summer. 1. To maximize viewer ship in the middle of the summer when not much is going on and 2. Just to be different. Take the winners of each conference and give them automatic showing in the conference final at the end of the season and some title or shield.

    At the end of the season have a second playoff with the remaining teams in each conference, the winner of that tournament plays the mid-season winner in a best of 5 style conference final. (be it goal total or a best of 5 where you have pks after every game, I don’t know) and then you have one grand final to determine the MLS Champion.

    What say you?

  178. Va Hoo says:

    Love this idea.

    What do you think of mine below?

  179. giaco says:

    No prob fischy–The point was (and is) that a clear example of the antiquated 1.0 management we are getting in this now 2.0 league is that there is no league-wide plan for away supporters nor any grievance policy for when things go wrong. It is worse that there is no transparency and seemingly no accountability for when things are not handled properly on away days.

    Supporters have traveled since the league was started: and now those numbers are increasing every year and the rivalries are becoming more apparent. During the previous 10+ years issues related to away fan safety have been brought to the attention of Don Garber, league and team officials in several MLS markets. Those thoughts, actions, emails, calls, etc. have (mostly)fallen on deaf ears and it seems to continue to this day–despite the lip service paid on Don’s whistle stop tours. That simple fact alone is why change is needed.

    It is one of the primary examples of why the current trend in MLS oversight and support (from the league’s end) is failing–it is only elucidated further when the commissioner wants to move closer to the young urban male demographic by promoting supporters groups (although only if they’re all good boys and girls), promoting rivalry games(i.e. The Cascadian Triangle and what could develop on the East coast) and also local derbies (LA/Chivas and NJRB/Cosmos)–all while at the same time not confronting the associated issues and potential problems that come with them: worse yet, only paying lip service to them as well as marginalizing the examples from years past that have been brought to his attention.

    Hope that clears up what I meant a bit–if you’re interested in discussing this further, I’m sure Ives can figure out how to connect us without having to post emails.

  180. Joamiq says:

    Why were you talking about Vegas in replying to a comment entirely about Atlanta? Looks like YOUR the idiot.

  181. Cavan says:

    I don’t get how you can put some of those up there in front of Baltimore. Some of those cities aren’t major league towns. Baltimore is and it’s as soccer mad as DC and Philadelphia.

  182. TSOSA says:



  183. TSOSA says:

    By the way CASL already has Chelsea FC in contract they could possibly reach out.

  184. Tim M. says:

    I can agree. A portion of higher profile Latino’s will want to play in MLS for the reasons you listed.

    The key is getting them to come over when their younger.

  185. Tim M. says:


  186. Tim M. says:

    WTF? Is your computer maid of brail moron?

    Colin Cowheard said…

    1. Forget the play-offs let use the BCS rankings

    2. Atlanta not a sports town children

    3. Pimped in Vegas they would be great for MLS

  187. Tim M. says:

    you don’t have too think. in fact if you don’t want the cosmos around don’t.

  188. Joamiq says:

    Aaand you replied to Alexandria’s comment, not Colin Cowherd’s. Whose computer is “maid” of brail now, moron?

  189. Ceez says:

    A team in NY, expansion into the South, change in number of teams in the playoffs…

    I’m not even paying attention to those changes. Don’t really care for them. I’m SUPER EXCITED about the return of the Reserve League and the expansion of the roster to 30 and the rule about players under 24. That sounds like a GREAT MOVE to me!!!!!

  190. Mattmatumbo says:

    Wow, 30 players just like the old days (like what, 3 years ago?) when teams had an actual full roster to develop and use. This will be good for the league.

  191. Ceez says:

    A LOT of the things you mentioned are either not feasible or WAY down the road. How about taking things one step at a time?

  192. travis says:

    Bring MLS to Atlanta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  193. Seriously? says:

    Every game is intense when that game is seen to have meaning. In the early and middle part of the season, when both teams are seen as fighting for a chance to win the division, the games are intense, but if it’s late in the season, and one team is out of contention, the games aren’t the same. That’s what the league should be aiming for, making it so that as many games as possible have meaning. Expanding the playoffs won’t accomplish that, in my opinion.