MLS could further reward Shield winners

Commissioner tells ESPN that "incentives" being discussed

MLS Commisioner Don Garber

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In the near future, winning the Supporters’ Shield could earn more
than a shiny trophy and recognition as the regular season’s best team.

During halftime of the MLS Cup match between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that the team ending in the table’s No. 1 spot will get some extra rewards.

Those rewards, Garber said, “could be more allocation money, could be
where they are seeded, it could be what to do with our draft, we could
simulate promotion/relegation.”

The issue was raised by ESPN
commentator Alexi Lalas, who asked Garber if the team emerging on top
after the grueling regular-season schedule should be compensated in some
way for ending as the league’s best—especially after the announcement
that 10 teams will make the playoffs next season.

 

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The topic will take on more added importance next year, when each
team will have a regular season schedule comprised of 34 games due to
the addition of expansion clubs Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland
Timbers.

Furthermore, some teams will participate in the
CONCACAF Champions League, US Open Cup, or SuperLiga. The added games
and international travel can take a harsh toll on any side – just ask
the Columbus Crew, who lost the bang they started out with as their legs grew tired because of battling on three fronts.

“We've got to find ways … for teams to have more of an incentive [to win the Shield],” said the MLS commissioner.

Those incentives, said Garber, could come very soon.

“You could see us trying to put those kinds of pieces in place for next year or maybe the year after that.”