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Colorado coach calls for single table


Add Colorado Rapids’ coach Gary Smith to the growing number of voices calling for Major League Soccer to can the conferences and go to a single table.

Next season, MLS will skew heavily to the west with the addition of franchises in Portland and Vancouver. Already, the west-heavy league has placed Kansas City and Chicago in the Eastern Conference.

Who knows who would have to move to the East next season — Colorado? One of the Texas teams? Heck, only the NFL is geographically challenged enough to have Dallas playing in the NFC East. Under the current playoff format, only the top two teams in the conference get playoff spots, while the rest go to wild cards. So, this season, six teams from the West got in, two crossed over to the East, and those teams will meet in the, ahem, Eastern Final.

Colorado and San Jose. Beasts of the East. Since the format basically rewards the eight best teams in the league, not the top four fro each conference, and the balanced schedule has each team play every other team in the league home-and-away; Smith thinks the eight playoff spots should simply be decided through a single table.

“It would be a better route to go,” said Smith. “It (the schedule) is home and away. It doesn’t make any difference.”

And, even with the league expanding to 18 teams next season, he doesn’t believe MLS should expand the playoffs at all. Eight teams is good enough.

“I don’t honestly think the playoffs should be extended or expanded.”

But he does believe MLS should do more to celebrate the winners of the Supporters’ Shield. More has to be done to recognize the regular-season champs, other than a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

“I do think the Supporters’ Shield should have a bit more attached to it.”

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