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What makes a team a league champion? Is it the team that played the best throughout the regular season, or the team that reached the playoffs and defeated all comers to lift the trophy?
This debate has raged on in American soccer circles for years as those fans influenced by the European model of naming the best team in the regular season champion square off against those fans who believe the playoffs determine the true league champion.
For those of you who missed it, this debate kicked off on Monday in the comments section of the latest edition of Your Questions Answered, which got me wondering how SBI readers would vote on the subject.
Now is your chance, vote for which system you prefer for naming the MLS champion. Does the regular season's best team deserve the title of league champion, or do you believe the MLS Cup winner deserves the title of league champion? Cast your vote:
As always, feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
Stop trying to cater to American audiences? Perhaps you’re not aware, we but most fans of the league live in the United States…
Well, Brett, I was mainly attacking those who claim all league champs are crowned by league play alone (and those who claim that, because of this, we should fall in line).
Which is more important, the cup or the league…well, it’s ultimately up to the fans to decide. Let’s not forget this is a young league that is still evolving. And let’s also not forget, when it comes to qualification for other tournaments (superliga, concacaf champions league, etc.), league play seems to be more valued than the playoffs (or, at the very least, equally valued). I kind of don’t get what people are complaining about when it comes to league not being as valued as cup…
We need to stop trying to cater to AMERICAN AUDIENCES. They do NOT care. Watch sportcenter.
I think its a great topic to talk about…
for me the best scenerio would be…
a single table champ and an MLS league Champ(playoffs)
football is a sport where a club can win more than one trophy in a given season, this is an important detail that separtes it from other sport leagues.
The Poll question should be modified to include a 3rd option (both).
Single table championship decided by top points, then US Open Cup after season as playoffs.
It’s really simple. A league decides how it’s champion is determined. As long as the rules are internally consistent (i.e. as long as they don’t change mid-stream in order to favor or disadvantage certain teams) there is no way in which one is “better” than another. MLS says that the champion is the winner of the end of season tourney. There. That’s it. Nothing more need be said.
For those who persist in that fantasy of calling the SS winner the “true” champion, whatever. It is exactly that: a fantasy. The vast majority of people involved (fans, players, coaches, team owners, etc) accept the league-defined champion. They do not run around saying, for example, that DC should be the champions of 2007 or LA of 1998.
To those who say that the playoff system is an ahistorical aberration I say: read your history more closely. Many countries in the world have at one time or other decided a national champion through the use of a tournament, rather than league, system.
To those who say that playoffs are an American bastardization of the game I say: open your eyes and look around the world. Is Mexico’s playoff system corrupt? Much of Latin America uses a playoff system, and even more of it plays two seasons a year. Are these corruptions of the sport? Mexico uses a different relegation system than Europe. They also use a tournament rather than league position to determine who represents the league in Copa Libertadores. Is this a stain on the sport? In Argentina’s recently completed season three teams ended tied on points. Surely San Lorenzo should have been crowned based on the goal difference tie breaker. After all, that’s how they would do it in Europe. Is Boca’s championship, earned in a mini-tournament, not “real”?
I believe that those who insist that MLS *must* do things the way the rest of the world does (by which they really mean Europe and, more specifically, England) are the same who feel that MLS teams should absolutely not have nicknames (ignoring that some European teams and many from outside Europe have nicknames), that the sport shouldn’t even be called that American term “soccer” (ignoring the English origin of the term), and even that the names of things like shirts, cleats and fields are inappropriate. There is a certain sense of self-loathing here. While I share with most American soccer fans a certain defensiveness related to the treatment of our beloved sport here, I don’t sink to that level.
Finally, to those who hate playoffs, you might as well not watch soccer in the future. The truth is, the world loves playoffs and they are spreading. Playoffs for promotion in England, playoffs for European spots in the Netherlands, all around the world people are embracing playoffs. Get off your high horse and enjoy the excitement. If you want to argue about who should qualify, that’s fine. But to say the whole system isn’t “real” soccer (or more probably, isn’t “real” football), is just to hide your head in the sand.
Catch playoff fever. It’s spreading 🙂
Mike Caramba- why do people feel that most of the nay-sayers to crowning the MLScup as champs simply want it b/c thats how “the rest of the world does it”?? we are not wanting to imitate europe…
and most of all, most (not all) dont want to rid the MLS of the MLScup or the playoffs… simply claim SS are league champs and MLScup are Cup champs….
Gotta be MLS Cup Champion. The best games for me are the World Cup Final, Euro Final, Champions League Final, etc. Limit the number of teams that get in, since they are already playing too many games, but obviously keep the Final.
Plus, as everyone’s stated, it generates more money which everyone in the league could use.
I hate this push from American fans to get “in tune with the rest of the world.”
First of all, there is a gross misconception that all other countries name their teams a certain way and crown their champs a certain way. It’s simply not the case. Not every league crowns their champion based on the regular season. Not every team is named [insert city or neighborhood] FC.
I say we get past our need to imitate Europe (particularly England) and appreciate the uniquely American aspects of our league. The playoffs are too big–no way should more than half the league get in–but they’re here to stay, and I think that’s a good thing.
I guess I’m a purist, count me in for best regular season record.
With one caveat: you can’t do it that way unless you have a balanced schedule. Which should be on the way in 2010 unless Don Garber screws it up.
I’d keep the playoffs but treat it more like a Cup Competition (which it is, by the way) with limited entrants (eight). Say the League Cup on Steroids.
Joe – so what…?? if they are out of the shot of winning the league, then they’d still have a fighting chance at making the playoffs….
as ives posted, this isnt about scrapping the playoffs, its about crowning the league champions…. the playoffs would still have the same prestige…. you’d still be fighting for a spot in the CL, the money and the hardware….
the question should be who deserves to be crowned the league champions… the team who consistently played the best throughout the season, or the team who managed a quality 4 game run at the end???
A league with more teams and a four team playoff would be ideal. Both seem out-of-touch now.
The USSF and MLS need to get together and shift the US Open Cup to the end of the MLS season. Last year the Open Cup had 8 MLS teams just like the playoffs. The USL and amateur teams could play the preliminary rounds during the last weeks of the MLS season and then the 8 remaining teams could each be pared with the 8 best MLS teams. The MLS playoffs currently have a two week, two leg 1st round so this wouldn’t necessarily create a longer season. Since the USL ends its season a couple weeks before the MLS, both the MLS and the USL teams could fully focus on the “Cup” instead of being distracted by other domestic games. The only problem is the teams could also be playing the CONCACAF Champions League around the same time. Of course this is at issue anyways.
Would anyone support consolidating the MLS playoffs and the US Open Cup?
jman81 – very few teams “experiment” with their lineups unless they are plagued with injuries…. they may add a rookie to the starting XI half way through or pick up a new name or two in the summer window, but primarily the starting lineups roughly stay the same….you may get a player who varies in positions from time to time (ie. rolfe)
points are never “given away”… and if they are then it comes down to poor coaching…
We cant afford to as a league to have no relegation and it be the most points be the champion. Imagine KC with 10 games left and the team has no chance of winning the league. They would get 10 fans to the game. We played NE in the first round of the playoffs and they had 5500 fans at that game. Imagine if they were out of contention to win a title in Sept. They would have nobody at the games and the teams would lose more money than they already do. This is America and we have playoffs so were are stuck with it forever. This league will never go to a single table no matter how much we complain about it on blogs like this.
Like it or not, playoffs are here to stay for MLS. The question is how to improve them.
The home-and-home for the early rounds is fine. And I can live with the single-game conference final. But what HAS to go is the neutral-site MLS Cup game. The game needs to be played at the stadium of the higher-seeded team. Columbus and New York playing in 1/4 empty home depot center was a real letdown in terms of atmosphere.
As far as all the people who keep commenting about how easy it is to get into the playoffs, and how that is something that drives fans away, MLS will have 15 teams in 2009. Eight of them will make the playoffs. That is exactly the same percentage as the NBA and the NHL (both of which have 16 of 30 teams make the playoffs). I don’t hear the fans for those sports complaining.
The issue, if there is one, is the fact that the top teams don’t get enough of a reward in the MLS playoffs for finishing with the best records. That is what needs addressing. Scrapping the entire playoff is not a solution to fix that.
I love having the playoffs (although I think they could be formatted better). Honestly, it’s probably the American in me, but there’s just something extremely anti-climactic and boring (in my mind) about just naming the regular season champ the winner. Plus, without an even schedule with all teams playing all other teams the same amount of times (both home and away), a regular season championship would never be truly fair anyway.
Also, after seeing the playoff atmosphere at Rio Tinto a couple months ago, something that would have never occured with the other system, as RSL’d have been out of contention months earlier, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Until fewer than half of the teams in the league make the playoffs, I have to vote for the team with the best regular season record. The playoffs were a joke back when 8 of 10 teams qualified. While it is better now, we still will see the majority of teams (8 of 15 for the 09 season) make the playoffs. Through expansion over the next several seasons, the regular season will begin to have more meaning.
I think the ideal situation for MLS is to have the supporters shield actually come with a prize – maybe a million dollar pay out to the winners – and have a six team playoff with the top two seeds getting a first round bye…and I pray for the day when MLS has a one table format.
brett-why should we crown a team as league champs b/c they manage to pull forward at the end of the regular season and through the playoffs?? why not give the respect for winning the league by actually being the most consistent team who actually won the regular season??
Well, I will argue that no team has done this truthfully because, with the playoff format, teams are very willing to experiment and practically give away points in order to find the best combination of players come playoff time. If there were no playoffs, then there would be no points given away, and then and only then will the supporters shield winners have the right to call themselves true league champions. But since we have always had playoffs, then there have always been many points giftwrapped to teams, and thus eleminates the notion that the supporters shield winners “earned” all their points.
Two champions (really, three with the less glamorous Open Cup).
Why is that so hard?
Premise: (1) We will never have promotion/relegation. (2) We will always have some sort of playoff.
Problem: It’s way too easy to get into the playoffs, and regular-season excellence is not sufficiently rewarded.
Modest proposal: Reduce the playoffs to six teams (top three in each conference). Conference champs get a bye to the conference finals.
Extreme proposal: Adopt a single-table format. Five teams make the playoffs. Regular-season champ gets a bye to the playoff final.
I agree that playoffs belong in MLS, but I think the Supporters Shield is a better measure of the best team in the league than the MLS Cup.
DC United and Houston Dynamo are arguably the most celebrated teams in MLS. Houston’s back-to-back MLS Cup victories proved they were a great tournament team. However, both years they finished second in the Western Conference. DC United, on the other hand, finished top of the league and won the MLS Cup in ’97 and ’99. That’s a more remarkable feat to me.
We need the playoffs so the Galaxy have something to play for in July.
America became great by taking what Europe started and making it better. Why would we start copying them now? Playoffs it is.
-Home and away single table season champion!!!
-the month of Nov should be for a MLS League Cup taking the best 8 of the regular season in a one off match… after all a given team can win more than one trophy in their league!!!
I love that the polling is virtually dead even!
Hopefully as MLS grows into an 18 or 20 team league we wiil want to have a league champion. My reaction is to do it sooner rather than later perhaps using “tedhill’s” format. I would add that when we can get lower level leagues to include relegation/promotion formats it will make MLS competition a lot more interesting to non-soccer background fans.
JoeW – Thank you joe…we could easily crown the league champions as the SS, and still have a prestigious cup winner…
Northzax -“Now, name the four teams that will be in the NLCS and ALCS in 2010. How about the NFL conference championships? The NBA conference finals? MLS? NHL? If you can do that, get thyself to Vegas and make some coin. In the European system, the richest teams ALWAYS win, regular season titles almost always reward wealth and spending. Playoffs balance that. ”
no, the salary cap and the Draft balance that…. the playoffs (while be entertaining) is nothing more then to give teams who have performed less consistently throughout the season a last HOORAY to be crowned champions….
the difference between the MLS and Europe is that we dont have teams who will dish out ridiculous amounts to buy a trophy… each team in the MLS has the same advantage as far as providing a competitive team…
Way to open a can of worms Ives!
While it was the fans who created and forced MLS to recognize the significance of winning the Supporter’s Shield, the league continues to place more emphasis on winning the MLS Cup.
Which is fine with me. It’s not enough to finish with the best record. A team should be willing to take on all comers and finish on top if they want to call themselves champions.
With all of the complaints I keep hearing about the number of fixtures, I’m somewhat surprised no one has suggested the Prem move their league cup to the post season.
Steve -“…. The best team should win in a win-or-go-home scenario…so that should determine who the better team really is.”
yes, i would agree with you if the MLS didnt have things like the Draft nor the salary cap…. both of those things create parity within the league to a certain degree… basically saying that in the MLS any team can beat any team… there are NO clear and cut favorites in a single game…
you claim the best team should win in a win-or-go-home scenario?? were the Redbulls overall a better team then Houston this season?? no, they WERE better then Hou in the 2 playoff games though…
was Chicago a better team then DCU last season?? no, but we out played them in both games….
there are better teams (ie. houston, revs, etc…) who are consistently good year after year, but as proven before, they are more then capable of being beaten… my point is, crowning the “league champions” on a series of 4 games total seems farce, when you have an entire 30 game season before hand….
People are forcing a false choice here–like the choice is either playoffs or no playoffs.
I voted for regular season determining the champion and I strongly believe that’s the best test. That said, you can declare the regular season winner the champion and then have playoffs to determine who wins the MLS Cup (or Anschutz Cup I guess if we want to be specific). I suspect that for the mainstream media, they’d still cover things pretty much like they do already.
As for the caveat about “promo/releg” please give it up folks. Let’s say a team pays $40 million and builds a stadium to join MLS and, like most expansion teams, finishes in the bottom their first year. Then their next year, despite being among the USL leaders, they lose in the playoffs and spend two years in USL. Who’s going to sign up for that? Promo/releg means that a whole bunch of major cities (like LA, DC, NYC/NJ) would have had NO representation in MLS for a year or longer. I love promo/releg in a country that can afford to have 4-5 major teams just in one city alone. But the US and MLS aren’t even close to that and maybe never will be.
Getting a larger MLS also reduces the likelihood of an LAG posting a losing record in a terrible conference and then winning the MLS Cup. Ultimately, as the playoffs get harder to qualify for, as the league becomes more competitive, all regular season matches will become more meaningful.
I like the playoffs. I think they need to be revised(fewer teams that quality) or at least kept as is while new franchises are added to the league to make the regular season games matter a bit more.
I do like the fact that the team that has been the best over the regular season is recognized and gets some perks like entry into cup competitions, but to me, having the pressure of a game where it’s win or you go home is great and exactly the way I like it.
can someone explain how more teams in the playoffs dilute the importance of the Cup? That makes no sense, really.
For those who want a straight regular season only, I have three comments: 1, this year that race was over in September. Done, finito. Since promotion and relegation will never happen in the US (in my lifetime at least, and I’m 34) it’s a non-issue. 2, anyone remember the Fire-Crew game? Yeah, that one. Perhaps the best game ever played by US pro teams? Notice that wasn’t the regular season. Lastly, if playoffs are so anti-soccer, why did the top league in the birthplace of soccer apply to FIFA to play two additional games in a playoff format? I think MLS, by following more of a new world playoff idea, is actually in the vanguard here. Don’t be suprised to see more leagues look at playoffs. The top teams like them for the cash (which would be, in part, shared with the rest of the league through tv rights) the middle table teams like them for having a shot at the rich guys. Think about it. Aston Villa is ten points out of Liverpool in fifth, but only down on goals to Arsenal in fourth. What are the Villains’ chances of catching the Reds? 50-1? What are their chances in a home and home? Not great, but miles better than 50-1. Heck, what are their chances in a one off shot at Anfield? Say they finish fourth, to win a four team playoff would mean going through Anfield and the either The Bridge or Old Trafford. Not great chances, but better than zero. And it would be fun as hell to watch them try.
Playoffs are the great financial equalizer. Give me enough money and I can finish top four in the league nine years out of ten (see, well, The regular top four) in a playoff, others have hope. Think about it for a second. Let’s project forward for a second. Think 2010. A season and a half away. Name the three teams who you would put money on to win EPL. Serie A? Bumdesliga? La Liga? League One? I picked three to make it somewhat interesting. I bet if Ives had that poll, 80% of our answers would be identical. Only in England are there more than three teams with a halfway legit shot, and that is limited to four teams.
Now, name the four teams that will be in the NLCS and ALCS in 2010. How about the NFL conference championships? The NBA conference finals? MLS? NHL? If you can do that, get thyself to Vegas and make some coin. In the European system, the richest teams ALWAYS win, regular season titles almost always reward wealth and spending. Playoffs balance that.
OK, 2 points.
First, I understand the idea of a champion being the team that has been the most consistently good over the course of the season, but why can’t there be another definition of champion? To me, having an end of season play-off decide a champion sets it up to crown whoever has built the best team through the season. If you have a number of new players who take a while to gel, have a terrible run of injuries, or whatever, you still have a shot at building the “best” team, so to speak. So in MLS, I see the SS as rewarding the team that was most consistently good, and the MLS Cup rewards whoever had built the best team by the end of the season. Seeing as this site has somewhat of a NY base, I’d love to see all the New Yorkers here argue that going forward, the Patriots should be considered the NFL’s champions from last year, rather than the Giants. I have no problems with either way of crowning a champion, but seeing as we’re in the US, I feel that we should use the American system. I don’t follow it, but I know that Mexico has their Apertura/Clausura system, and strangely that league seems to do pretty well. Are there tons of fans there who go on about how, in order to be legitimate, they should change to copying the European leagues, rather than have their own style?
As for promotion/relegation, I’m sick and tired of hearing people argue for it here in the US/Canada, it’s just not going to happen. As someone already pointed out, the teams in the various levels of USL just aren’t built to play in MLS, a lot of those owners wouldn’t be able to afford it. It seems like many people think that all the “idiots” in MLS have to do is say ‘ok, let’s start promotion/relegation’, then all teams in the USL would line up for it, and it would magically happen. The sports landscape here is very different than it is in Europe, accept it and move on.
Oh, it’s not anti-Euro snobbery when you say ‘we don’t have to do it that way just because that’s how they do it in Europe’. Anti-Euro snobbery would be saying ‘we shouldn’t do it that way because that’s how they do it in Europe, and we don’t want to be like them’. The latter is indeed obnoxious, but I don’t see how the former could be considered so.
The reason why the Supporter’s Shield exists is because of the effort of people such as Sam Pierron and others back in the day whom wanted to make sure that the team with the best record in the MLS was recognized. This award was created by the fans and one of the few things you actually got supporters from all MLS clubs in existence at the time to agree on – that’s a feat in itself.
Bottomline is that the Supporter’s Shield will not become more important to the players until there’s some financial incentive involved with winning it. Let’s say a purse somewhere between $500K to $700K for winning it and to be shared between the players on each team, coaching staff, trainers, etc…
Personally, I like the play-offs, although I’d prefer to see the Final either played in a home and home format or at the field of the team remaining with the best record. Having NY and Columbus or my Fire and DC United travel to LA for a Cup Final is a joke and cheats the fans of both clubs from attending the biggest event of the year for their teams, the teams they’ve supported all season.
I hate promotion relegation and trust me if they could do it over again in Europe, they would get rid of it in a heartbeat and mimic our play-off format. Who in their right mind would field a team in a league in which their revenue could drop substantially if their team has a bad season? I wouldn’t and I’m sure many of you wouldn’t.
Money is the bottomline. Give these guys some serious cash to play for and you’ll see play on the field improve from a hustling my ass off standpoint. I’ll use the EPL as an example. The winner of the EPL for the 2005/2006 season was Chelsea and they received almost $20M dollars for winning it. Man Utd finished second and received almost $18M dollars. The amount of money received by the team that won the league is more than that recived by the teams finishing 13th – 20th – COMBINED!!! Want an incentive to win, that’s it. This is just from their share of the TV money not counting other things.
Lemme repeat, it’s all about the money.
If MLS were able to come with a pool of $20-$25 Million dollars for teams to split based on their performance for the year, you’d see things change for the better with a quickness. I’ve veered off topic, so going back to the original question. The Supporter’s Shield be awarded to the team with the best record and in addition to their receiving a spot in whatever CONCACAF tournament it is, they should get some coin in recognition for their achievement and it should be some serious coin – $10M to be split as I stated above.
Ives, what are the financial numbers on the playoffs? I think we can argue till we’re blue in the face about the best ideas system, but without some sense of the financial benefits of playoff games (I’m assuming they benefit the league… otherwise why bother) v. regular season games I think we’re ignoring a huge factor.
Two other thoughts: a few people are comparing MLS to Mexico and S America instead of just the big Four in Europe. What about other leagues like the A League and the J League? The A League has a Pre-season cup and a finals series based on the Page playoff system borrowed from curling and softball. Too complicated to explain here, but look it up on wikipedia… The J League had what translates to an apertura and clausura structure until 2004, with the table-toppers playing off for the champion’s mantle. Now they have a two-league relegation system, a trajectory which will appeal to many, but which won’t happen in the US unless MLS decides to expand rapidly to compete with the USL or somehow manages to incorporate the USL.
Also, who knows what European leagues will look like in 10-20 years? European football is not static either (witness the foreign players rules changes over the past 20 or so years that have resulted in Arsenal squads with no British players on the field). We might see more playoff-type structures in European leagues (like a Middling Cup for all the teams between 4th from bottom and 9th from the top playing off for more TV money or something! Ha ha!).
I think there should be (at least) 5 competitions. All MLS teams into the MLS Cup, with top seeds getting home games, a 2-legged semi-final, and a “destination” final (actually prefer a 2-legged final, as well).
1. MLS Reg Season
2. MLS Cup Tourney
3. US Open
4. CONCACAF Champs
With so many teams entering the playoffs the meaning of winning the mls cup becomes dilluted.
There’s little that I hate more in life than the “rest of the world” argument.
Can we have problems with both?
Crowning champions for having the best regular season record makes sense when everyone plays another in equal amounts (Europe).
Having playoffs make sense when you cannot play every team (World Cup, Champions League), or only play each team once (Mexico) because of time constraints.
Yet MLS, and American sports, do neither. Instead, there’s a built-in discrepancy known as ‘regional rivals’. So what sense does it make to award play off positions when there’s an inequality in how many times one team plays another, or even crown a regular season champion with that discrepancy.
I say if things aren’t going to be equal, than use some power rankings sort of thing to determine a champion (but not like the BCS crap).
I love comments like the one that said “I’d like to see the regular season leader named the champion in all leagues, not just the MLS.”
Seriously, you think the NFL is going to give up the single biggest sporting event in the United States — an event so big that it is practically a national holiday?
Give me a break.
MLS needs to appeal to people beyond the small group of folks that likes to watch euro football. The playoffs are how every league and every sport in America is decided — with the sad exception of NCAA football. NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA at every level in every sport.
If you ever want a wider embrace of soccer in this country — so that ESPN doesn’t pull its support because of the miniscule ratings — you are going to have to create the kind of excitement that the Super Bowl and NCAA tournament create.
In my opinion MLS should stop focusing so much energy on attracking fball, bball and baseballs fans and put more into attracking soccer fans of other leagues.
That being said, MLS has to stick with some sort of system which makes the last month of regular season games meaningful to most teams. Currently the MLS Cup is a good system. Pro/reg is potentially a good system, mainly due to attracting more soccer fans to MLS.
Another system is qualification to other competitions, similar to Euro teams fighting to qualify for Euro Cup or Champions League. If we did that based on how teams finish in the regular season, then there would be more meaning to finishing 6th.
I don’t understand why going the “regular season winner = champion” would make Cup playoffs meaningless. There are Cup tournaments — heck, in England’s case, two Cup tournaments — in countries that crown the season winner as the champion, and somehow those Cup tournaments still hold some value for the players and the fans.
A champion has to consistently prove they are better than every other team. That can only be done by winning the league. Winning the the playoffs may be more exciting for some but doesn’t prove that the winner is, day-in day-out, the best team.
For the record, it just looks childish to crown the playoff winner “champion” simply to differentiate ourselves from Europe. (Not that I’m saying that’s why MLS does that now… as I understand it, MLS does it for the money and exposure)
without a system of relegation and promotion it doesnt make sense to give the title to the team with the best overall record since lesser teams would have nothing to play for. think about how exciting the playoff race was this year? without playoffs then the last few weeks of the regular season would have been worthless as all the teams but one or two would have had nothing to play for.
by having a playoff system we are able to replicate the same kind of races that a promotion relegation system gives you. yes there are flukey things that can happen like ny going to the finals despite having a terrible record but with out the playoff system the mls season could potential be over for a lot of teams really quickly.
This is really simple. I dont care what sport it is. This is America, not Europe…and in America, the team that wins in the playoffs wins the championship. The best team should win in a win-or-go-home scenario…so that should determine who the better team really is.
I would prefer the regular season winner be named champion, but without promotion/relegation, there isn’t enough excitement at the end of the season without playoffs.
Therefore, I voted for the MLS Cup winner to be named champion.
I don’t see what the big deal is. Regular season champs get a trophy (the Supporter’s Shield) and tournament winners get a trophy (the MLS Cup).
If there is a problem, it’s with people wanting to tell other people which is more important. If I choose to give more importance to the shield vs. the cup, who the f&*k cares other than me? I certainly won’t loose any sleep with the folks thinking the MLS cup is more important.