Monday, July 21, 2008

Mexicans Crash Out of Tournament Because They Can't Read

With six points in hand, a comfortable plus-2 goal differential (not to mention facing a team with a minus-3 GD), and a win over the next-best team on paper (Houston Dynamo), Chivas de Guadalajara had to think they were pretty much a lock to advance out of its 2008 SuperLiga group.

It wasn't until after a 2-0 loss to fellow Mexican side Atlante FC in the last group match that Chivas manager Efrain Flores found out his team was in fact out of the tournament, despite thinking he was safe regardless of outcome.

To his credit, Flores didn't make excuses saying, "I don't think it is a failure tonight. We lost the way the rules are." What he didn't say was, "Even though the rules are fucking stupid.

But he might have been right to, as, in his defense, the tie-breaker rules for SuperLiga are about as clear as sheetrock. With three teams level on six points, Guadalajara and its even GD would seemingly have the edge over Atlante and its minus-1 GD. But the tie breaker criteria were clearly written by a crazy person, leading to Flores' confusion.

From the 2008 SuperLiga Wikipedia page, the tie breaker criteria are as follows:

If two teams are equal on points, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings:[4]

1. Head-to-Head Results (points only)
2. Goal Differential
3. Goals Scored
4. Coin Toss

In the event that three or more teams are equal on points and no one team has defeated the other two (Head-to-Head Results), then the remaining tiebreakers are employed to advance a single team. The tiebreakers are applied again between the teams that failed to advance if it is necessary to determine a second-place team.

If the tiebreakers fail to advance a single team, the tiebreakers are then used to eliminate one of the three teams.

So, follow along and we'll try to make sense of this. The Dynamo, Atlante, and Chivas were all 2-1 (1-1 against each other).

Dynamo: Beat Atlante. Lost to Chivas.
Chivas: Beat Dynamo. Lost to Atlante.
Atlante: Beat Chivas. Lost to Dynamo.

So we get through Number 1 above with nobody (save DC United) having been eliminated, and the remaining teams in a 3-way tie.

Then we jump to the first bit of written qualifier. It states that, in the event of a 3-way and no team having a 2-0 record against the other two, the remaining tie-breakers are used to advance one team.

So, by virtue of tie-breaker Number 2 and its plus-5 GD, the Dynamo (and only the Dynamo) are through as the group winners.

Then the rules seem to stipulate that if there is still a tie for second place, the tie-breakers are used again for the remaining teams, starting from the top. So Atlante, by beating Chivas head to head advance, are through because of tie-breaker Number 1. They'd have 3 points to Chivas' zero.

So Chivas is out. Atlante is in.

But obfuscation is the only real winner here.


The Fan's Attic said...

the question is then: who's dumber, Michelle Wie or Chivas?

Keith said...

Better to just go for the points; there's never any question who advances when you have at least 7. So I'd say Chivas are dumber than the rules here.

jjf3 said...

I remember reading Bernardo Fallas' explanation of all the various possibilities that could happen before the game started, and all I can say is: Superliga is dumber than all of them. It's a complete crock of a system to decide advancement.
Granted, Chivas should have known the rules and what they needed to do, but Christ, who came up with this one? I know its not universal, but isn't GD the "standard" for advancement in most tournaments? And who the fuck decided they needed to "improve" on it? Though I guess Superliga is kind of a bastard child anyways, so maybe it deserves something this stupid...