The MLS is one of very few leagues that decides the winner of the league with play offs. Yes, you read that right. The winner of the MLS is decided like other American sports, using the Play-Off system. This means that a team can scrap into the play offs and then win the league. Should the MLS scrap the play offs?
Before we start discussing why or why not they should scrap the play offs, I’ll run down a bit of history of the Major League Soccer. The MLS is the top tier of American soccer pyramid with both USL and NASL regarded as the second level. The league was formed in 1996, as part of the deal that saw the US host the 1994 World Cup. Unlike other major leagues around the world, the MLS decided to choose the winner the American way – using the Play Offs system!
To start the debate, if you finish top of the league in the MLS, you win the Supporters’ Shield, the trophy that is given to the team with the best regular season record. To understand more about the Supporters Shield, watch the NY Red Bulls’ 2015 banner raising until 2:39 by clicking here , but this is not the big trophy, the MLS Cup is the league winner, this divides opinion in America, with someone liking the Play Off system and some rather having the European way of winning the league.Now to my opinion, I am a British fan of the New York Red Bulls and when I started to watch the MLS, I didn’t understand why a league would use Play Offs to decide the league winner (in the UK, we use them to decide the 3rd team to go up, or on very rare occasions that both 1st and 2nd have the exact same points and exact same goal difference), but as I have got into the league more and became a big fan of the Red Bulls, I have started to realise why the MLS uses Play Offs, Play Offs are the American way of doing it! The Play Offs are used in American sports to decide the winner so why wouldn’t they use them in the American soccer league and especially when most of the fans watching will be used to this way of deciding winners. I no longer think that the play offs should be scrapped, its different way, sure? But what league wants to be the exact same? The MLS is different, but it’s a great league to watch. Do you disagree with us? Do you think the MLS should scrap the Play Offs and just give the title to who ever finishes 1st? Well tweet us at @DictateTheGame on Twitter and let us know what you think!