Sounders Insider

Cascadia Cup picks simple -- but 'unfair' -- format

Picking up on the post below, here's what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say about the unbalanced Cascadia Cup format for the coming season:

It’s a competition that this year puts us in the driver’s seat, and next year it puts us in the driver’s seat – unless, who knows?, maybe they change the rules again. It’s a situation where Vancouver is always going to play a balanced schedule, but they’re always going to run into a team that gets an unbalanced schedule. It’s not a fair competition – let me put it that way – but it’s a competition, so we’re going to participate in it. But I think the Northwest is an important part of MLS and soccer, and I think down the line they’ve got to find a way to balance it. But not next year. Next year they’ve got to turn the advantage to us and then balance it off in 2014. But it’s something that could have been maybe better thought through before they established the schedule. I don’t think it really mattered if we play Dallas away twice this year or Salt Lake away twice. Everybody could have found an extra away game, whether it was San Jose or Colorado or whomever so this could have been balanced.

Meanwhile, here's the full news release sent out by the three participating supporters groups:

The supporters groups from the three Cascadia MLS clubs have agreed on new rules for the Cascadia Cup after MLS moved to an unbalanced schedule in 2012.

The Emerald City Supporters, Southsiders and Timbers Army agreed that all matches will count towards the Cascadia Cup, even though the new unbalanced MLS schedule means each team will play a different number of home games against their Cascadia rivals this season.

“We all agreed that this was the simplest format, one that all the fans will find easiest to follow,” says Brenton Walters, Southsiders spokesperson. (Note: we want to be inclusive and change to ALL FANS).

Portland Timbers will host both Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps twice, Vancouver will see Portland once and Seattle twice at home, and Seattle will only host each team once. Despite this imbalance, the three supporters groups agreed to count all matches equally in order to keep the 2012 Cascadia Cup format simple.

“It’s unfortunate that the league didn’t work out a balanced schedule for the Cascadia teams,” says Garrett Dittfurth of the Timbers Army. “We think the league should fix this for next season so that no team has an unfair advantage in Cup matches.”

The Cascadia Cup will be awarded to the team with the most points after all matches have been played or when there is a clear winner. In the event of a tie, the Cup will be awarded to the team with the best goal differential followed by best head to head performance.

Should the MLS schedule remain unbalanced in 2013, the Emerald City Supporters, Southsiders, and Timbers Army insist that the 2013 MLS schedule will allow for a redistribution of the away/home matches.

“Cascadia is home to the oldest and strongest rivalry in North American soccer, and the value that the supporters put on the Cascadia Cup reflects that,” says Greg Mockos of the Emerald City Supporters. “The league should pay attention.”

In addition supporters’ group leadership has approved the following tie-breakers to apply in the case that two teams finish equal on points:

1. Greater number of points earned in matches between the teams concerned 2. Greater goal difference in matches between the teams concerned 3. Greater number of goals scored in matches between the teams concerned 4. Reapply first three criteria if two or more teams are still tied 5. Greater goal difference in all cup matches 6. Greater number of goals scored in all cup matches 7. Smaller number of disciplinary points in all cup matches (yellow = 1 point, red = 2 points) These new tie-breakers will make it easier for fans to follow the standings and potential scenarios for their club winning the cup. Tie-breakers 1-6 are almost the same as those used in the UEFA and CONCACAF Champions League group stages. The main exception being that we have removed tie-breakers that look into away goals as it would likely not be a good idea with unbalanced schedules.

These new tie-breaker rules will be in effect until otherwise stated by supporters groups from all three Cascadia teams.