September 28, 2012
Australian Cahill likes MLS playoffs
By Michael Lewis
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- He is an Australian by birth and until recently an English Premier League veteran. Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill has grown up with and played with a single table that determines a league champion.
Yet, only with a handful of months in Major League Soccer under his belt, Cahill likes the playoffs concept.
"It is what it is,. It is exciting," he said after training at Montclair State University on Thursday. "I think the added bonus is trying to win the league, trying to win the whole title with the two conferences. That's something that's pretty special because it shows your grit and determination throughout a season and the consistency of teams. You see the teams coming first, Kansas City, the discipline they've shown, the consistency. It's hard, the way they've got to use their squads and the coaches change their tactics throughout the season. Definitely, it takes a top team to finish in the top three of the whole conference."
The top three teams in each conference will get an automatic berth to the post-season. The fourth- and fifth-place teams will qualify to play in a special one-game wildcard match the Wednesday after the regular season ends.
"As for the playoff system, it also gives the teams an opportunity to sneak in from the bottom and have a chance of winning a title, which is pretty unique, but also exciting for the fans and gives people hope," Cahill said. "I accept what it is.
"It is my first crack at it. The thing is it would be nice if we could have been challenging for the overall top spot. We have to make sure we win this weekend and the playoffs [will] look after itself after the next four games."
The Red Bulls (14-8-8, 50 points), who are in a third-place tie with D.C. United (15-10-5, 50) in the Eastern Conference, host last-place Toronto FC (5-18-7, 22) at Red Bull Arena on Saturday (MSG, 7 p.m.).