After the LA Galaxy match last night against Real Salt Lake, Bruce Arena was asked about playoff seeding under the new format. In the course of explaining that he hadn't even sat down and looked at that, he was critical of the unbalanced schedule.
"The unbalanced schedule has really impacted the standings in both [conferences]. It makes no sense to have a Supporter’s Shield with an unbalanced schedule"
Is Bruce Arena correct? First we'd have to determine if San Jose had an unfair advantage amongst it's rivals in the Western Conference. Then, how that compares across conferences.
Every Western Conference team has three matches against Conference opponents and one against the Eastern Conference. So the first thing to determine would be the ratio of home and away games amongst the top four in the Western Conference playing each other.
|San Jose Earthquakes||5||4|
|Real Salt Lake||3||6|
"The hard part is trying to put teams on the field, producing good teams and all that kind of stuff. The schedule shouldn’t be as awkward as it is."
Does that make San Jose's run more impressive or less impressive than the Supporter's Shield winning Galaxy teams of the last two years? Certainly San Jose deserves all the advantages in the world come playoff time amongst its Western Conference compatriots. A just playoff system would place them in the MLS Cup.
However, deciding San Jose should host the Cup over Kansas City, when their schedules don't compare, feels arbitrary.