Every year around this time, I'm usually left wondering why MLS even bothers with the regular season. Past years have resulted in horrible disadvantages set up by the MLS playoff system. This year, we haven't had any sort of giant upsets yet but really only the Houston-New York series pits a deserving playoffs team against a club that deserves to get torn apart.
Still, watching the first leg left me with the impression that the playoff system still is a terrible system and I explored the topic in my PE column.
I suppose the most pressing issue is even having a two-leg playoff series. It just seems very strange to have two legs in the first round and then switch to one-off games the rest of the way. The Champions League has a similar setup but not really. The Champions League has two-leg series in the knockout rounds but switches to a final after the semifinal round. That's different, though, in that it is only one game, one round that is affected.
In other leagues that have playoffs, such as Mexico, there is no back-and-forth between two legs and one leg. If MLS were to make the conference finals two legs, then perhaps the system would be more fair. But what advantage did the 1-2 seeds have by finishing that high? They all had to play on the road, they all went looking for ties and most importantly hoping not to lose and three of the four accomplished that.
Anyway, check out the column. I despise the MLS playoff system and by bringing attention to the inequities of it I hope that people at least realize how terrible it is. I do hope it changes in coming years and the league makes the playoffs a series of one-off games but I know that is not likely, which is too bad really.