Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Soccer/Football/Futbol doesn't catch on

A revelation occurred to me as I watched FC Barcelona defeat Chelsea 1-1 in the champions league semifinals. The first leg was a 0-0 tie in Barcalona. Barca advanced due to an injury time goal from Andres Iniesta in the second leg to tie the aggregate total to 1-1. But Barca's goal came on the road, so they advanced on away goals. There was great outrage from the Chelsea players because after the Barcalona goal, they felt like they got hosed on a hands infraction the ref failed to call. In order to call the hand ball, the ref would essentially have to give Chelsea a goal in the form of a penalty kick. The revelation I had was a curiosity in the media coverage that Chelsea would recieve for blowing the game. In England, many of the articles would have been about how Chelsea should have played differently in the final stages of the game since they had a one man advantage, or how the ref screwed Chelsea over. But in America there would have been coverage on the former, however most of the discussion would reside as to why the premier club soccer tournament is decided over a two game series, and how the teams can tie, but somehow one is deemed superior. Apply the Champions League's logic to a sport like hockey. Instead of a potentially thrilling seven game series, we would succumb to a two game series, where each team has one home game. Seeding is irrelevant, as a one seed and an eight seed would each have one game. First game of the series is a battle of goaltenders as the home team (team 1) wins 2-0. Game two has a bunch of penalties, so power-play goals are prevelant. The home team (team 2) wins 5-3. Aggregate goals are 5-5, so the series is at a deadlock. But team 2 has a 3-0 away goal differential, so they are deemed superior for scoring goals on the road, so they advance. What? A two goal loss is a two goal loss, does a team honestly feel better about itself for losing even if they score? No. This is why series decided by an even number of games, no seeding, away goal superiority, and no underdogs is a weak way to promote the supposed most popular game in the world, played at its highest level.

No comments: