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ASN Weekly Debate

Are We Headed for the Best MLS Playoffs Ever?

Ryan O'Hanlon and Noah Davis talk about some stuff, including the Major League Soccer postseason, disastrous goalkeeping decisions, and whether Missouri wants to secede from the U.S.
BY Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon Posted
November 01, 2013
11:00 AM
Noah Davis: Hey Ryan. It's been awhile.

O'Hanlon: You needed a break after I won the last debate.

Davis: Totally did. It's also MLS playoff time. Or, as I like to call it, No Your Single Table Isn't Fun. Before we get started in earnest, can you tell me  how your boy Clint Irwin didn't get red carded Wednesday night for taking down Clint Dempsey? Man, that's at least one too many Clints.

O'Hanlon: Clints need all the help they can get. Red-carding Clint Irwin for a Clint-on-Clint crime would've set the National Campaign for the Advancement of Clints back by at least a decade. I'm pretty sure this is what the ref was thinking. Definitely.

Davis: That's fair. One of the more sensible things you've said, actually. Now, for the big question: Do MLS playoffs help or hurt the league on a worldwide level?

O'Hanlon: I don't think so? Like, maybe there's some Bureau of International Soccer Credibility where you have to do everything like they do it in Europe, but having playoffs doesn't reduce the quality of the league in any way. It's probably a weird concept, playoffs, to people who don't watch American sports, but I don't really see how it hurts anything.

Davis: Your answer to "does it help or hurt" is "I don't think so?" Simply stunning.

O'Hanlon: Sometimes the truth is hard to digest.

Davis: I actually think the concept of playoffs is gaining traction in Europe. Someone in Belgium spent about 10 minutes explaining the format to me and the upshot is that increased competition is fun. I do worry, however, that MLS is a gaffe-prone league and the increased visibility of the playoffs highlights those dumb mistakes. See: Gspurning, Michael. O'Hanlon: Sure, but that's more about the MLS just still not being all that great, though. If the playoffs give the league more visibility, which you're suggesting, then I'd suggest that the playoffs are a good thing.

Davis: I suppose screwing up in front of many people is better than toiling in obscurity. If Gspurning messes up in the forest and no one is around, does he still get a red card?

O'Hanlon: No red card, but no one has to try to attempt to pronounce his name, so we all win.

Davis: I believe it's pronounced "Irwin." I am quite excited for Seattle-Portland... at 10:30 on Saturday night.

O'Hanlon: That is a shame. Will you be able to stay up that late?

Davis: Midday nap.

O'Hanlon: Ah, you are wise. But yeah. That match-up is pretty much the ideal scenario MLS would've been hoping for, right?

Davis: Totally. Other than the West Coast timing thing, which is unavoidable, seeing as both teams play on the West Coast. But yes. Both of those teams have extremely fun stadiums and the telecasts will be great. Without doing any research at all, I'd say these are shaping up to be the best playoffs ever.

O'Hanlon: I'd have to agree. I "feel" like you are correct. And while the Portland–Seattle pairing is maybe a lucky outcome, the playoffs-as-a-whole seem like they'll be great because there are a bunch of competent-to-pretty-good teams in the league now.

Davis: MLS: Where competent-to-pretty-good happens.

O'Hanlon: That'll be $15,000 please, Don Garber. We're charging you at our "family" rate.

Davis:  I do think it's interesting how these playoffs are screwing with Jurgen Klinsmann's plans to bring players to Europe. I wonder if there's some part of a guy like Brad Davis who hopes Houston loses before the Conference Championship. Or will that not matter? There's a two-week break between the games.

O'Hanlon: Yeah, for as fun as the playoffs could be, it doesn't fix the weird relationship the MLS schedule has with its own national team and the European soccer world. But it does create a fascinating dilemma. I wonder whether making the World Cup roster or helping his team win MLS Cup is more important to him? It shouldn't even be a question, really, but the schedule almost makes it one.

Davis: I would say making the World Cup roster, wouldn't you?

O'Hanlon: Probably, but is that only because of how we perceive MLS? Like, I'm not sure someone in the Premier League or Champions League wouldn't have a different answer—so why shouldn't Brad Davis?

Davis: Well, if we're still talking only about Brad Davis, he's already won two MLS Cups, so I think he'd trade a third for a spot in the World Cup. But if we're talking generally, I see your point, although I think playing for the United States, specifically, is more important than playing for some other countries because America.

O'Hanlon: Some people in Texas, though, might have a different opinion.

Davis: Davis is from Missouri, which is either better or worse for your argument.

O'Hanlon: It's better.

Davis: Teach O'Hanlon, teach.

Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon do this when inspiration strikes or they feel guilty.

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