CONCACAF Champions Cup rule change: Salt Lake's out, Portland's in.

12/13/13 in Soccer   |   w_g_walters   |   223 respect

Final approval came today for a change in the allocation of the three spots determined in MLS play. The MLS Cup Champion (Kansas City) and Supports' Shield Champion (that team named after an energy drink), plus the Open Cup winner (who could someday be from a lower division, but is currently DC United), still qualify. But now, instead of it being both conference champions, the teams with the best records in both conferences qualify. This means Real Salt Lake is out, and the Portland Timbers are in.

While I don't like the fact that the decision was made after the MLS Cup, I think it's a good rule. It will make the MLS Cup more competitive as long as one team might not qualify. Even with this advantage, there are problems that should be addressed in the future. Even though the Champions' Cup is not taken as seriously in the US as UEFA is all over Europe, it is still international exposure and bonus money for teams who advance.  A team who realizes how big qualifying can be, but has not qualified, would have a psychological advantage over any qualified team.

In other words, even though the new allocation is better, there is still room for improvement. But for now, we can live with this.
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