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October 31, 2023

Unanticipated High-Scoring MLS Cup Playoffs Challenge Defensive Play and Penalties

Ethan Moore
Written byEthan MooreWriter
Researched byMatteo BianchiResearcher

Introduction

The Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup Playoffs introduced a best-of-three series for the first time in two decades. This format, limited to Round One, aimed to create more pessimistic play among lower seeds, with teams hoping to secure a draw and rely on penalties for victory. However, the outcome has been quite different from what was anticipated.

Unanticipated High-Scoring MLS Cup Playoffs Challenge Defensive Play and Penalties

Surprising Results

Contrary to expectations, the opening matches of Round One have been filled with excitement and high-scoring games. In fact, every game so far has featured three or more goals. While some matches were decided by halftime, the only truly compelling game was the Houston Dynamo's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.

Lack of Urgency

The absence of the win-or-go-home pressure and the two-leg aggregate series may be contributing factors to the unexpected outcome. Without the urgency to secure a victory in a single game or the need to consider every goal's impact on the final outcome, teams seem to be more willing to take risks and mount comebacks.

Historical Precedence

This is not the first time the MLS playoffs have seen such results. In the early days of the league, blowout games were not uncommon in best-of-three series. This led to format changes, including the introduction of total points earned as the deciding factor. However, that system was also eventually replaced.

Comparisons to Other Sports

While the best-of-three format works well in sports like the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs and MLB's Postseason, where randomness plays a significant role, it may not be as necessary in the NBA. The extended duration of the MLS series, spanning 12-to-14 days, raises questions about the decision to remove the possibility of extra time.

Conclusion

The unexpected outcome of the best-of-three series in the MLS Cup Playoffs challenges preconceived notions about defensive play and penalties. It remains to be seen if the trend will continue in Matches 2 and 3, but it is clear that this format has brought excitement and unpredictability to the playoffs. Whether it is the ideal format for MLS or if adjustments are needed is a question that will likely be debated in the future.

About the author
Ethan Moore
Ethan Moore
About

Ethan "BetMaster" Moore, born amidst the pulsating energy of London, combines a sharp analytical mind with the excitement of sports. As the chief writer for BettingRanker, he offers a unique blend of stats, strategies, and stories, making the world of sports betting both accessible and thrilling.

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