Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
HANOVER, N.J. — You can add Mike Petke to the list of people unhappy with the current MLS playoff format.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday ahead of the first leg of his New York Red Bulls’ Eastern Conference semifinals series, Petke made it clear he was not the biggest fan of the condensed postseason schedule that his and other teams are facing this year.
Petke was not only critical of the format that can see clubs play as many as four games in 10 days (or in the Red Bulls’ case, three in seven), but also of the fact that he has to wait until Thursday night to see who he has to prepare for between the Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo for Sunday’s Eastern Conference semis first leg.
“The only thing that becomes tricky is playing nine months one game a week pretty much and now all of a sudden playing hopefully three games in (seven) days,” said Petke. “We’re playing two games in three, three-and-a-half days and then if you’re fortunate enough to advance then we’re playing Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday.
“It’s mind blowing, mind blowing, for any coach in this league so that’ll be interesting for the teams who advance. Hopefully, it’s us. Hopefully, it’s a situation that we’re faced with.”
Petke later added that he did not want to be overly critical of the schedule because he understands that MLS does things for a reason. But he also reiterated his stance that it is less than desirable to have to play so often in such a short span of time.
“It’s not ideal. It’s not ideal at all to go to through a 34-game season, playing pretty much once a week, and then everything is crunched in so tightly,” said Petke. “But you’ve got to deal with it. We’re fortunate that we’re in the playoffs, we’re happy we’re in the playoffs and that’s a good problem to have because we’re in the playoffs.”
The current MLS playoff format has been criticized by several across the league since it was released. Earlier this week, a report stated that MLS was considering changing the schedule so as to try and avoid midweek games before ultimately deciding to stick with the one it has in place.
What do you think of Petke’s comments about the condensed playoff format? Does he have a point?
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