-Keith Hickey

So Major League Soccer, the crazy druid/vegan cousin of the world soccer family, released the format of the 2011 Playoffs. Being bloggers, we found the new format underwhelming. Being arrogant, we decided we could make a way better system. Being alcoholics, we decided it would involve several five dollar bottles of vodka. Remembering nothing the morning after, we pieced together various notes found around the Match Fit USA offices as well as we could. This is what we came up with.

20:01 EST: We've decided that performance in the regular season should be rewarded, and the first placed team in each conference will be given a bye to the Conference final. Now we just have to figure out how to select the eight teams that will compete for the other two spots. I think shots are in order to celebrate our progress.

20:17 EST: A proposal had been made that the Supporters Shield winner should be given a bye all the way to the MLS Cup Final, ensuring that teams would take it seriously. After feisty argument, it was agreed that having nine teams vying for one spot would unbalance the bracket too much. I've settled everyone down, and poured out drinks to calm the nerves.

20:43 EST: Discussion has once again become heated. The Western Conference writers are in favor of four wildcard spots, ensuring the best teams overall make the playoffs. Those on the side of the East are advocating two spots, to ensure the integrity of the conferences. Two of the interns are re-enacting the drinking contest from Raiders of The Lost Ark in an attempt to break the others will.

21:10 EST: The vodka is starting to run out, so we've declared a temporary cessation of discussion and sent an intern, Rod or Rob I think his name was, to get more. And some Little Caesar's pizza and cheesy bread.

21:48 EST: Things have taken a turn for the worse. Rod is the assistant to an Eastern Conference Correspondent, who is insisting that everyone gets an equal amount. Some of the West writers are arguing that they skipped lunch, and should get more, while the East staff went out to lunch at Sbarro, so they've already had like, a ton of pizza today.

21:53 EST: In retaliation for the Little Caesar's debacle, the West staff has taken the drinks and locked themselves in conference room B. The Toronto writer has gone home, saying that he won't get to cover playoffs this year, anyway, and this whole thing is stupid. Everyone else agreed, as that guy is a douche with a hyper-inflated opinion of himself.

22:11 EST: The East staff staged a raid on the conference room, and the LA correspondent accidentally turned off the lights in the scuffle. They managed to make off with the Houston writer as a hostage.

22:30 EST: In exchange for the return of the Houston writer, the West has agreed to come back to the discussion table. We're not getting much done though, as every time we start to talk about the playoffs, the New York writer gets a bit of cheesy bread stuck in his throat. I think he has a serious problem. Once is understandable, but choking fifteen times in a row?

22:38 EST: Terrible things have happened.

22:53 EST: We had finally hammered out a basic structure for the playoff system when some crazy homeless guy somehow got past security and into our office. He came in and apparently assumed he worked for us, because he kept yelling about a promotion we were supposed to have given him. He then started yelling about "phonies" and started referencing fast food restaurants. We told him we'd already had Little Caesar's, and that it was perfectly good, but that seemed to only spur him on. Rod the intern finally snapped, and jammed pens into his eardrums. Screaming, and with blood spurting from his ears, he bludgeoned the homeless man to death with his own manifesto. Nobody stopped him, and to be honest, we didn't really care.

23:24 EST: We dug a grave in the cemetery of the newly rebuilt North American Sanctified Lutheran church down the street and buried the body.

23:44 EST: We've finished. Here's our proposed playoff format:

There will be two wildcards in each bracket. The second seed will play the fifth seed (wildcard), and the third seed will play the fourth seed (wildcard). The winner of each will play for the right to play the first seed in the Conference Final. One leg per match-up, higher seed has home field advantage. MLS Cup Final at a neutral site.

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