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Clear & Obvious: Explains: MLS Cup Playoffs or MLS Playoffs or The unexpected virtue of ignorance

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Based on the novel Push by Sapphire

MLS: New England Revolution at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Playoffs. Now. Explained.

Broadcasts:

Times could be moved at any time. Networks are most likely a streaming site you have to download after a bitcoin payment. Everyone will question why ratings are down.

New Rules:

VAR can now retroactively go back and force games to be replayed if major mistakes are missed.*

Format:

There’s a new format this year. Single-elimination for every single round. Good thing soccer isn’t a sport where you can just BS your way into a wi--

Oh.

Well, at least they didn’t do something like adding more crappy teams to give them a chance at going full Sounde--

Ok probably should have seen that one coming.

So seven teams from each 12 team conference have made the playoffs and they all have a chance to fall backward into winning the league’s most coveted trophy by accidentally winning four games. Stunning improvement to the format.

All this being said, I think we have to embrace what we’ve been given here. Who are we to look down upon the decisions of the Multiple Listing Service? We have adjusted our playoff rankings accordingly.

TEAMS MOST LIKELY TO SURVIVE ON THE WAY TO ACCIDENTALLY “WINNING” MLS CUP IN THE MOST MLS WAY POSSIBLE: RANKED

Tier One: Full Sounders

Seattle Sounders

This team finished second in the Western Conference with a +3 goal differential. Their goal differential is five worse than seventh place Dallas. Only one other Western playoff team had a worse differential.

There’s precedent here too obviously. No one plays Big 10 football like Brian Schmetzer. If Seattle controls the clock and keeps the other teams from getting big explosive plays, then Wisconsin will win the Big 10 championship. Or something. Look, they’re just gonna ugly everything up and the structure has never been more beneficial for a team that prides itself on having the second-best center back in MLS history and who routinely attempts to regress soccer back forty-years and whose fans on twitter will continue to try to bother me despite so clearly being on the mute list. Congrats to them on their MLS Cup victory.

LA Galaxy

The only team not coached by Bruce Arena to enter the playoffs with a negative GD. Will there be crosses? Yes. Will there be Zlatan? Of course. Will it be hilarious when they beat LAFC again by lumping the ball up to Zlatan? Ohmygod yessss.

There’s a legitimate chance they score three goals a game just from Zlatan being there. Four games. 12 goals from Zlatan. A defensive performance where they lose the xG every game but everyone on the other team forgets how to finish. A clear path to four wins and MLS Cup.

Real Salt Lake

Holy crap they’re in the playoffs??

...

THEY’RE THIRD?????

This is the kind of unchecked success that everyone completely ignored in the regular season that leads to an MLS Cup run viewed by ~30 people. It would honestly be genuinely terrible for the league if they were to win. Good thing MLS set up the playoff system to make it even more difficult for its premier teams to consistently advance. All according to plan.

Seeing as how this would terrible, it almost feels inevitable. Throw in the fact that they’re rallying behind an interim coach since the last guy got kicked out for one of the more embarrassing moments in league history, it’s a sure thing.

NYCFC

MLS Cup. On a baseball field. Not the one they’re going to be playing at for the first couple of games. The other one. The one they normally play on.

There’s no bigger home-field advantage. There’s no club designed to squeak out wins on a glorified indoor soccer pitch than NYCFC. Aesthetically, it will also look terrible. They’re pretty fun though. They almost got pushed into the next tier. But. Baseball. It will be a beautiful cluster as they win MLS Cup on a shot that pinballs off of four people and into the goal.

New England

Crafty, crafty Bruce. The only one of these teams that could win every game 5-4 instead of turning it into a bum fight. Everyone would be remarkably upset to see a Bruce Arena-Robert Kraft tandem do well. They have everything going for them.

Tier Two: It could happen but wouldn’t be as on-brand from MLS as the other tier

New York Red Bulls

They have not been good this year. Bradley Wright Phillips is officially over the hill and their collection of Ivy League rejects named Tom and Brian haven’t been enough to carry them past the loss of Tyler Adams and Jesse Marsch. Naturally, it would make sense that they show up and score 20 goals inside the six-yard-box to win MLS Cup for no explainable reason. Chris Armas will probably blow it though.

D.C. United

For a few years now someone who I trusted to follow me on my personal Twitter account has been consistently informing Clear & Obvious of his private plans and tactics.

There has been so much information given to me about them, their plans for their soccer team, and how they don’t understand why people love This Is Us so much -- all without my permission.

After a long time of trying to figure out why this may be, for various reasons, I had my suspicions.

To try and prove those, I came up with an idea. I blocked him from viewing my tweets. (Those following my tweets previously must have wondered why had started tweeting about This Is Us again.)

Over the past few months I have received a series of annoying dm’s to see if they could borrow my box set of Charmed season 3. And you know what, they kept coming! DM’s about how they feel alone in the universe, how no one on the team respects him as an adult, and then the latest one about how Wayne is leaving him and didn’t invite him to his beach house.

It’s been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all, especially when the dm’s are so cloying and co-dependent, however I had to. Now I know for certain why he’s so sad and lonely.

I have saved and screenshotted all the DM’s which clearly show just one person has sent them.

It’s…………..Ben Olsen’s account.

Portland Timbers

Probably not gonna happen two years in a row if we’re being honest.

Toronto FC

Oh wow, they’re...back? What if they’re back? What if Pozuelo and Altidore go off? What if everything suddenly clicks and the team that dominated MLS and came inches away from winning the CCL returns for one final burst of glory?

What if, you ask?

Well then they just lose to Sounders despite outshooting them 19-3.

Tier Three: Too enjoyable and good to happen, so it won’t

Minnesota United

This would be a blast. A great fanbase in a new stadium with a team that’s weathered two years of expansion misery to burst onto the scene this season with a solid and assured team. It would be excellent and fun and good and positive and the Wonderwall sung at the end of MLS Cup would be tear-inducing.

No chance they win.

Philadelphia Union

Everyone has doubted them despite being pretty good and legitimate throughout the season. Naturally, they’ll get inexplicably thumped in the first round because fair is a weather condition.

FC Dallas

PAXTON POMYKAL. OTHER HOMEGROWNS. A SEVENTH SEED THAT SCORES.

Sounders will win on PKs despite losing xG 4 to 0.5.

Tier four: Absolutely no chance of winning

Atlanta United

LAFC

*This is not a new rule. But you questioned it for second. You know you did.