Photo by ISIphotos.com
Good morning everybody. It is Monday morning and time to bring back my weekly series ‘Monday Morning Centerback’, where I will focus on some topic in the soccer world, be it in MLS or abroad.
Today I wanted to discuss Major League Soccer’s Western Conference and just how bad it is. Now I’ve never been much of a proponent of having MLS play a single table, but this year, with each passing week, the ineptitude of the Western Conference sure does make a strong argument for MLS to going to it.
So just how bad is the Western Conference? Consider this past weekend’s schedule, which saw West teams go 0-4-1 against the East and be outscored by a combined total of 11-1.
And no, this wasn’t just the case of one bad week.
The Eastern Conference holds a whopping 35-22-16 edge this season. That’s 13 more wins over the course of the season, nearly two wins and six points more per team. That record isn’t the case of strong teams overloading the record either. No teams in the West hold a winning record vs. the East and no West team has swept the season series against the East this year.
So what happens when one conference holds that much of an edge over another? You end up having one conference where six of seven teams have losing records and where only the Houston Dynamo would reach the playoffs if it were in the Eastern Conference.
Right now Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas would reach the post-season if the season ended today despite the fact that Dallas is tied on points with Toronto FC and Kansas City, who both are currently tied for last in the East.
RSL, losers of two straight, sit comfortably in second place in the West, but if you put its 27 points in the East, Real Salt Lake would be on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Conversely, folks in KC and Toronto could argue that if their teams played in the West, and faced the West’s weaker schedule, their point total would improve by more than the one-point edge RSL current holds over them.
Which leads us back to single table? As I said before, I’m not the biggest fan of the idea, but when the league has such a disparity in conferences, you can’t help but wonder if the league wouldn’t be better off. This is even more true with Seattle FC set to join the league in 2009, giving the West another expansion team.
What do you think MLS should do to combat the disparity in conferences?
Share your thoughts on the disparity in conferences below.