NASL Changes Its Post Season Format

Bill Peterson has juggled the requests of the teams in his league and has changed the post season format.

Bill Peterson has juggled the requests of the teams in his league and has changed the post season format.

Social media has changed the way that we conduct our days. We’ve seen New York Cosmos COO Erik Stover tweeting out “The team has a special announcement later today – get ready”.
Today the NASL did something very similar to what Stover has done in the past and had us over flowing with anticipation when they tweeted that they had a major announcement for the league at 1pm.

Lunch plans were immediately cancelled today for me as a result.

Sadly I was glued to my computer screen to see the news that the NASL would release. As per the NASL’s website the league has decided to change the way that it conducts its postseason and how it ultimately decides a champion in the league. The decision I am sure was a result of an online survey that was conducted by the NASL and was passed around to several teams and their supporters group. This Cosmos Fan was lucky enough to receive the survey and I did part take. The topic of post season play as well as the league calendar were one of the few questions on the survey.

Today the results of one of those polls with respect to post season play. Below are the criteria for the four teams that will participate in post season play starting this season in the NASL:

The Championship Semi Finals (home team listed first)
Seed #1 vs. Seed #4
Seed #2 vs. Seed #3

The Championship Final (home team listed first)
Highest remaining seed vs. other Semi Final winner

The Championship seeding:

• The NASL Spring Season and Fall Season champions will each host a semi final.
• The number one seed will be awarded to whichever of the Spring or Fall champions posts the better combined regular season record.
• The number three and number four seeds will be awarded to the next two clubs with the best overall records from both seasons combined.
• Clubs will retain their seeding throughout the postseason.
• The top-seeded semi final winner will host The Championship final.
• If the same club wins both seasons, the clubs with the second, third and fourth best overall records from both seasons combined will qualify for The Championship.

As a Cosmos fan, I think this dilutes the value of post-season play. The league as many might know, is broken up into two seasons – a spring and fall season. Under the former format, the spring winner and the fall winner would meet in a one game championship called the Soccer Bowl for the ultimate bragging rights as the league champion. To me, this is a better representation of how soccer is played over in Europe and in several leagues around the world. However, when the Cosmos were allowed to skip the spring season last year and participate in only the fall season, many felt it was unfair that they were allowed to play in the Soccer Bowl after only playing the fall season. My take on this, was that it was harder for the Cosmos since in theory, they only had one opportunity to make it to the Soccer Bowl.

Many will go on to also say that once a team is mathematically eliminated from making it to the top of the table, they lose their desire to play and just finish off the season without their winning edge. In switching the post season format to what the NASL proposed today, it gives two more teams another opportunity to play on even though they may not necessarily finish at the top of the table in a season. As an NASL fan, I agree with today’s change. The last thing I want to do as an NASL fan is for fans to say – “Well the Cosmos always make the post-season”. This gives three other teams a legitimate chance to make the post season and since the post season matches are all single games, anything can happen on any given day! To me this encourages all teams to play the season through just a bit further. I hope this excites the other teams in the league just that much more as we are approaching the start of a new season.

If it has done nothing else, it has shown that Bill Peterson is NOT a Cosmos lover as many fans around the league would like to imply. He put out a poll and listen to the teams vote for a new post season format. Will there be more changes on the way for the NASL – who knows? But with the new post season format adopted and with a new team starting the league this spring, 2014 is shaping up as the NASL’s boldest season yet! When its all said and done, who will be raising the championship trophy in November

(Photo Courtesy Of The Atlanta Silverbacks)

(Photo Courtesy Of The Atlanta Silverbacks)

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