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NASL Releases Schedule and Playoff Format

Milan AC - Impact de Montréal

By abdallah

Amidst our discussions over USL-PRO and the USSF soccer pyramid, the NASL released some good news this week and announced its 2011 season schedule.

The NASL, now composed of eight clubs, will have each club play 28 games and face each opponent four times.  The season runs from April 9 through September 24, with the top six teams making the playoffs.  The top two seeds will receive a bye, and seeds 3-6 will face-off in a one game quarterfinal round.  The winners will then advance to face the top two seeds in a home-and-home semifinal round, before the two finalists play a home-and-home championship the weekends of October 22 and 29.

You can read the press release here.

The teams composing the 2011 NASL are the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina (formerly the Carolina Redhawks), FC Edmonton, FC Tampa Bay, Miami FC, NSC Minnesota Stars, Montreal Impact, and Puerto Rico Islanders.  In 2012, NASL hopes to add a San Antonio franchise and will lose Montreal to MLS, while Miami will become Miami FC/Strikers.

The schedule and playoffs are ambitious for such a small league, but many of these clubs have good fanbases and support, so the success of the 2011 season is possible.  The big IF however is the unresolved “second division” situation; if NASL cannot get that resolved by the February USSF meeting, the thoughtful schedule may be for naught.

Thoughts on the NASL schedule and playoffs?

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  1. Alan

    February 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I would love to support this league, but I am from Michigan and am not near any of these teams. Any thoughts?

    Also, I don’t want any of the leagues to fail.

  2. Derek

    January 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I think this is where pro/rel should happen first. Make a press release stating that NASL will relegate one team to USL and bring two up every season requiring the teams to meet minimum standards. Also state that to get into NASL you must start your club in the third division. I think owners would definitely back a set up where they can start a third division team and end up with a second. And final on the press release should be that after NASL reaches 20 teams this way it will petition MLS to start pro/rel also. If they fail to do so then NASL will apply for first division sanctioning. I think if they go public stating they are doing pro/rel regardless of MLS investors will come from everywhere.

  3. Don Garber is going down

    January 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    This is the first salvo. Just you watch. Garber’s league will be crushed by this league. Garber runs a mickey mouse operation. Don’t support it.

  4. Rabble Rouser

    January 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Well, seems like Ted Westervelt has himself multiple personalities to try and advance his insane agenda.

  5. Dan

    January 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Robert do you wear an Aluminum hat to keep the Aliens from stealing your thoughts?

    • Robert

      January 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      do you wear Garber’s ass as a hat?

      • CoconutMonkey

        January 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm

        Lol. Garber’s ass as a hat. Brilliant.

        Best post ever Robert.

        As for NASL and USL Pro merging, this monkey is doubtful. The NASL was formed specifically because the TOA owners couldn’t resolve their differences with the USL brass.

        Also, if the recent snarky press releases are any indication, I don’t think either side is itching to head back to the negotiating table any time soon. But hey, stranger things have happened.

        • Robert

          January 28, 2011 at 1:16 am

          Thanks Coco. IT would be a dream if both sides would come to terms and see MLS as the enemy and take it down or force a merger.

  6. Robert

    January 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I love it! NASL has my 100% support by telling USSF to stuff it and continuing its season. I say NASL goes balls to the wall and make a serious attempt at dethroning MLS as Division I or even have some of NASL clubs crush MLS in Open Cup.

    • Robert

      January 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Oh, NASL and USL should merge and give what true soccer fans want! Independent clubs, promotion/relegation and make it truly division I socccer!

    • Dan

      January 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      I don’t think that NASL is out there to dethrone MLS. But I am glad NASL is moving forward. I hope is that NASL and MLS create a strong partnership.

      • Robert

        January 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

        MLS does not want a partnership. They are a monopoly and are forcing competition to go bankrupt under the guise of being Division I. Smaller markets are being starved of revenue because they have zero chance of cracking into division I unless they pony up 40-75million, stadium with grass (unless you are sounders and timbers). NASL has my full support for being a renegade league!

        • Charles

          January 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

          Good luck with that Robert.
          It should win out big right ?

          Of course that would be followed by…..Like it should have when USL was First Division soccer.

          “Oh, NASL and USL should merge and give what true soccer fans want! ”
          <<<<<What ?!?!? I think that vote already happened.
          MLS won in a LANDSLIDE.

          • Robert

            January 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

            They didn’t win squat. They are paper champions. With USL/NASL clubs who were stupid enough to pay their way into MLS [See: Sounders, Timbers, WhiteCaps, Impact]

          • Yorkie

            January 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

            Roger mate. I think it’s time you give up on MLS as I have. I simply check in to see where the league is at, but I will not be purchasing tickets to any MLS games this year, nor any gear. I am happy enough to use the internet and my hdmi cord, that allows me to watch Serie A and Bundesliga matches on my big screen.

          • Charles

            January 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm

            Sweet, Robert, you and Yorkie do that and quit posting here.
            Off to for you….

            A win for ALL three of us !

  7. Ultra

    January 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Great schedule setup, and love the home and home for the semis and the final. WAY better than the MLS setup. Single table for the regular season, and then home and home series in the playoffs, even the final and no stupid neutral site games.

    Should be an awesome season. Now I hope the USSF is satisfied with whatever adjustments the league has made/is making in regards to being sanctioned as D2. Hopefully 2011 is the foundation of a better, more stable D2(and D3 for that matter) in this country.

    • Charles

      January 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Do you like home and home better than 3 games series ?
      If so why ?

      I have been to too many “mini” games followed by shootouts to like it.

      • Ultra

        January 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm

        I like it because it gives both teams equal(ish) time at home. Now you can argue that one team had a higher seed and should have home field, but in D2 you really can’t justify that extra game when it comes to travel expenses. Plus if the higher seed plays the second match, they get the overtime and shootout if necessary.

        I think the home and home strikes a nice balance between the fluke-prone one off game and the 3 game set.

        • CoconutMonkey

          January 28, 2011 at 2:51 am

          I second that. Whenever possible (with exceptions for cup competitions and international tournaments), I like my knockout stages to be two-legged.

          @Charles: This is basically what we were talking about before, but I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say three game series. Do you mean a best of 3 series, or a 3-leg aggregate series?

          • Charles

            January 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

            Best of three, very uncommon in soccer, if ever, but really should be the way it be done…if you are going to declare the winner of the playoffs champ…like I want.

            I understand the Euro champs doing home and home, becausethere is no way to determine home field advantage. Not true here in MLS.

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