TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 21: Drew Moor  of the Colorado Rapids kisses the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy in celebration of their 2-1 overtime victory against FC Dallas during the 2010 MLS Cup match at BMO Field on November 21, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

On a chilly night in a half-filled stadium, two of Major League Soccer's founding members played an ugly final decided by an own goal while the American soccer community on Twitter mollified itself by ripping anything and everything taking place north of the border.

Hence, I suggest we remember the 2010 MLS Cup for everything it wasn't, while accepting it (and the situation that created it) for what it was.  The game wasn't without some value, and while I was disappointed in the mass exodus that took place from the stands, the last 15 minutes were gripping.  In the end, though, what we should take away from last night's game is that MLS had plenty of room for improvement.

But things are never as bad as a small group of overly-critical fans on the Internet want to make them out to be.  The most interested of MLS observers (note I did not use the word "fans") have lost, or perhaps  never had, the ability to criticize without using words evoke the most negative possible extreme.  The game wasn't pretty, and the officiating was suspect, but nothing about last night is fairly labelled a "joke."

Unless you want to label holding the game in Toronto in the first place as such.  Then again, MLS didn't know that TFC fans would choose the Final to make their stand or suddenly decide that a little cold was too much to handle (YOU LIVE IN CANADA), so hindsight leads me to conclude that this is a case of "lesson learned" rather than a reason to bash MLS.  Essentially, TFC fans and the Toronto soccer community at large eliminated any chance their city will be hosting a major MLS event in the future.

Or the game and the lackluster fan showing is a blow to neutral site Finals, and MLS should use the opportunity to switch to a higher seed home final.  I'm fine with that, simply from a competition standpoint, but I do wonder what will happen to all of the ancillary benefits the League gets out of a neutral site event planned months in advance.  An MLS Cup Final in the highest remaining seeds home building makes for last minute scrambling, affects sponsor schmoozing, and kills the end-of-the-year Supporters Summit.  The trade-off for a switch in MLS Cup Final format might be the long term continuation of the All-Star Game, even when the League has outgrown the exhibition's usefulness,  because it will takeover as the League showcase/annual conference event.

Aside from the feelings of hatred and disgust the game engendered, much of the chatter last night revolved around a few bombs dropped by Monsieur Garber.  One, the playoffs for next year will be expanded to 10 teams from eight, a decision almost universally panned.  Enlarging the field, and conceivably rewarding a few mediocre teams, would seem to minimize the importance of the regular season rather than the reverse.  Though I'm not fan of increasing the field, I'm going to wait until the League announces the final format before passing judgment.  Flying off the handle about it now seems a bit premature, but there will be flying if necessary.

It just dawned on me that Garber said the format for 2011 would be finalized in 30 days, which would put the announcement right around Christmas.  Very clever, Major League Soccer; if people absolutely hate the changes, the story will be lost in the middle of the holiday season.

Balanced schedule!  That's a good thing.  Playing 34 games in 32 weeks, with everything else going on in 2011, is not.

I'll give you one sentence on this noise about switching the schedule to follow the traditional FIFA calendar:

It's not going to happen and the League is just doing their part to bolster the US 2022 World Cup bid by appearing to cater to Sepp Blatter's inane wishes that completely ignore the issues with switching seasons in a country where American football is king and winter weather is an impossible problem to overcome.

I didn't say it would be a good sentence.

Away from MLS and the atrocious blow-up-the-league Cup Final was the provisional approval of the NASL for 2011.  It seems they've met all of the minimum requirements to US Soccer's satisfaction, or the federation simply decided it can't go without a second division for a year.  I'm happy that we'll have a real second division (as opposed to a third division acting like a second division, or whatever USL-PRO is), but I will say that the NASL has a lot to prove.  And I still want to know who's backing Atlanta, where the hell AC St. Louis has gone to (I kinda know on this one), and if FC New York (who, I'm guessing, is the unannounced 2013 entrant) has improved on that hideous logo.

For the good of the sport in the US, I hope they succeed.

Oh, and congratulations to the Rapids.

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