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RIDGE MAHONEY: Do the math
April 30th, 1999 12AM
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I hate to present any smidgen of rationale for the despised shootout, but it is working in one regard -- it punishes teams that can't win in regulation. This is a good thing. Both Chicago and San Jose have four wins. Yet Chicago sits atop the Western Conference with 12 points; San Jose languishes far back with just four points. Why? The Clash can't win in regulation. That's fair. Many writers and fans are clamoring for a revised MLS point system of four points to a team winning in regulation, two to a shootout winner, and one to a shootout loser. Some players and coaches like it, too. That's a warning. Upping the ante for a shootout win, even while increasing the value of a regulation win to four points, tips the scale to make shootout wins more valuable. How? Do the math. Each shootout win (one point each) currently equals one-third of a regulation win. Under the four-point system, a shootout victory is worth one-half a regulation win -- two points out of four. This would make teams more inclined to shoot it out -- with a point guaranteed, and the possibility of another. Nice reward for a gimmick. I'd drop the shootout, award one point for a tie, and either up the value of a win to four points, or, keep it at the current three, and give a bonus point -- as in the A-League -- for a team scoring three goals in a game. If the shootout must stay, keep the current shootout points as they are, and reward regulation wins as per above. More points at stake in the standings equals more passion on the field. The league needs both. FANS: LET'S HEAR YOUR VIEW Click here to log onto (Soccer) American Graffiti. Then click on the topic titled "YOUR VIEW: Do the Math" and respond to Ridge Mahoney in 200 words or less. Best responses may be reprinted in Soccer America Magazine. If YOUR View is selected, we'll send you a cool T-shirt and pin... Because You're FANATIC.

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