Los Angeles Soccer: Eric Cantona

AROUND MLS: What's needed? More playoff teams!

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
10:28
PM PT
Chivas USA's playoff hopes increased dramatically Tuesday. Major League Soccer added two teams to the postseason mix.

The league boosted its playoff participants to 10 teams with the addition of two single-game wild-card showdowns, which should be welcomed by Chivas and Columbus, Chicago and D.C., K.C. and New England, even Toronto FC.

The Galaxy and the like? Are you kidding?

Here's how the postseason works this year:




The top three teams in each conference qualify for the main draw, which is just like before: home-and-home conference semifinals, one game conference finals, MLS Cup. The next four best teams, regardless of conference, take the wild-card slots, with the No. 7 seed playing 10 and 8 playing 9 and the winners advancing to play the regular-season champs, and … well, you know how it works.

This system will cut down on all that confusing cross-conference movement in the playoffs, which led to an all-West showdown in last year's Eastern Conference final, an Eastern Conference title (en route to MLS Cup glory) by Real Salt Lake in 2009, and a Western championship by New York in 2008.

Had this system been in place last year, K.C. would have been the No. 3 seed in the East and opened against Columbus, which the then-Wizards might have won. Which would have left them 90 minutes from MLS Cup.

One wild-card battle would have matched Colorado against San Jose. ... Hey, they did play -- in the Eastern Conference final. The Rapids prevailed, then won the MLS Cup crown. (The other wild-card matchup would have been Seattle-Chicago; the Galaxy likely would have opened against Colorado.)

MLS has had eight playoff teams since its 1996 start, when there were only 10 clubs. As the league slowly grew to 16 teams by 2010, eight playoff berths seemed sufficient. Portland and Vancouver make for 18 teams this season and Montreal for 19 next year, and eight still sounds perfect.

L.A. would have reached the 2006 playoffs had this format been in place, but nothing could have saved the Galaxy in 2007 and 2008. And forget Chivas last year or in 2005.

(Read full post)

AROUND MLS: D.C. checks out Davies

February, 7, 2011
2/07/11
11:54
PM PT

Charlie Davies, the U.S. national team forward whose World Cup hopes ended in a deadly car accident 16 months ago, has joined D.C. United to recharge his career.


He joined D.C.'s camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday for a one-week trial. If D.C. officials are happy, a one-year loan agreement has been reached with Sochaux, Davies' French club.

"We're all rooting for Charlie. He's come a long way, and we're all hoping for the best,” D.C. head coach Ben Olsen told media last week. “But we have to be realistic in our job and figure out if he's right for this club at this time.

“There’s no question Charlie will be back. Whether or not it’s now, three months from now, six months from now, that’s what we’re here to find out.”

Davies, 24, has not played in a competitive match since he was critically injured in an October 2009 accident that left one person dead. He suffered a lacerated bladder, fractured right tibia and femur, fractured elbow, facial injuries, and bleeding on the brain, requiring months of surgeries and rehab, followed by a failed, fervid attempt to return to form in time for last summer's World Cup.

The speedy Davies, who emerged as a first-choice forward for U.S. coach Bob Bradley during World Cup qualifying, called the possible move to D.C. “a wonderful opportunity for me” and told media he knows what he needs to do to return to his best form.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES