I wouldn't like it either; with the Revs this season, I'm basically hoping that with a successful midsummer signing or two and a lot of luck, they can compete for the last wild card spot. Without playoffs, the scenario becomes a fight tooth and nail for mid-table mediocrity, which has much less of a ring to it. Like TB and finn said, the playoffs give teams something to play for.
When MLS tries to follow international traditions, they end up doing things like naming a team in a country that calls the sport soccer "Football Club" or create a reserve league weaker than college ball. Until promotion/relegation and CCL spots give low-and-mid-table clubs something to play for (and for now, this is not feasible), the playoff system is necessary for MLS to stay viable.
The reserve league is back, baby, and it's going to be better than ever!
Seriously, though, the first incarnation of the reserve league was a farce, but I'm very optimistic that the new version will be effective. First, there are extended rosters and MLS teams have been banned from using local "guest players" to make up the numbers. Second, it provides a place for young players to play if they aren't ready for first team action. Third, this provides an incentive for MLS teams to sign young players in the first place. Fourth, the already sizable number of homegrown players means that the back-end of rosters are filled by actual prospects and not talentless sixth-round draft picks. Fifth, the NCAA changed its rules so that amateur academy players can appear in these games without jeopardizing college ability. This will allow teams to plug holes with real players, if necessary, and to evaluate potential homegrown signings on a higher level than the U18 league.
I don't have a problem with a playoff system, but I do have a problem with over half the league making it.
It's good that certain international standards have come into American soccer, like the total goals over 2 legs replacing a best-of-three games, but until there are other things at stake (continental tournament qualification, relegation, etc.) they can't really go to a single table with no playoff.
Yeah, it's too much.
BTW, I do have some reservations about the home-and-away format in the playoffs. I feel that it doesn't give higher-seeded teams enough of an advantage and I think that those teams should be rewarded for a superior performance in the regular season.
Edited by Titans Bastard, 02 March 2011 - 12:07 AM.