Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another victim of the system

Houston won't win three consecutive titles after all. The favorites to walk away with the trophy won't do so as the New York Red Bulls took care of that on Sunday. The Red Bulls pulled off the most stunning playoff upset in several years on Sunday with a 3-0 rout of Houston in Robertson Stadium.

Chalk this as another playoff system-induced travesty.

Houston and New York were all square entering the second leg. All Houston had to do was to beat the Red Bulls, which was seemingly an easy task. New York limped into the playoffs and were generally regarded as the worst playoff team.

But on Sunday, that was not the case. New York struck early and had two goals by halftime. Houston never recovered.

Remember the last giant playoff upset? The Galaxy, who owned all of the ninth best regular-season record in 2005, beat San Jose in the first round and went on to win the cup.

So in the end, it was just another case of the supposed better team not being able to answer the call, right?

Not quite. Houston already proved they were the better team than New York. Remember that thing that was played between late March and late October? That thing called the MLS regular season? Houston proved it was deserving of fighting for the right to play in MLS Cup while New York proved they were worthy of being completely rebuilt. The Red Bulls had exactly one road win, finished with a losing record, had a lousy defense surpassed only in their pathetic state by DC and the Galaxy. And yet there they were, on even footing with the two-time defending champions, the Western Conference champions, a team that had lost only five times in the regular season.

On what planet do New York's statistics merit a shot at the MLS Cup? How meaningful is the regular season when a team like New York can play like utter shit and still make the playoffs? How effective is the regular season in weeding out the crap teams from the good teams if New York is allowed entry into the postseason?

How can the league be taken seriously with these kinds of shenanigans?


Anonymous said...

... to speak nothing of the fact that Houston got out-played and their 0-3 result completely deserved.

Anonymous said...

The format of the competition has been known since the beginning of the season. If Houston couldn't win, they couldn't win. Not New York's fault that they played better (and on that day back in August when they also won 3-0. This was right around the time LB had NY in the top 6 or so in his rankings...maybe because they have a decent record against non-Chicago MLS playoff teams). Remember that you play to win the game, and one team played that way today. This happens in all sports, and RBNY's play today should be celebrated for its courage.

Hmm...a 5th ranked team in one conference defeating the heavily-favored #1 seed from the other conference...sounds familiar...didn't one of RBNY's stadiummates do something like that this year, too?

Gregg said...

I look at the MLS playoffs as a league cup that seeds based off of regular season records. Seriously win the fracking supporters shield if you want to prove your worth in the regular season. Houston didn't. They lost a knockout game in a tournament. This stuff happens.