winning vs. a tie

On Wednesday I went to the BBVA Compass Stadium to watch the Houston Dynamo take on Sporting Kansas City in a match with significant MLS playoff implications. Sporting is currently in second, with the Dynamo trailing by 4 points in third. For the first 75 minutes of the game it seemed that KC was okay with a tie; even though a win would launch them into first, a tie would mean no change in the rankings and it would better than giving all 3 points to the opposition. Toward the end, KC sent in a substitute at forward proving that they were going to go for a win. The entire match was very back and forth with scoring chances from both sides but still ended in a 0 – 0 draw.

Throughout the game, I had explained many of the idiosyncrasies of soccer to Lindsey. The offside rule, set-piece importance, red & yellow cards and positional roles were all part of the day’s education. After was all said and done, Lindsey asked me if “the tie ever bothered me.” We then discussed how unique the tie was to the game. Mistakenly, I was under the impression that hockey could end in a tie but found they changed that rule in the mid-90’s but still grant a point in the standing for an overtime loss. Cricket has draws & ties but both mean something different. All major American sports have a declared winner; whether it requires extra innings, overtimes, sets or the like.

My answer was simply “No.” The idea of a tie does not bother me. As a player or a coach, if my team ties another team then it proves we were even on that given day. Now, if my team is heavily favored against its opposition, I would be less than happy with the result of a tie. I would always rather win than tie and tie than lose. It comes down to performance; my team’s level of play proves to be more important to me.

Maybe the tie bothers others, maybe the lack of high scoring in soccer bothers Americans but I think it goes to show the difficulty in actually getting a goal. All in all, I believe that soccer in America is growing regardless of the score. It takes exposure and education for this game to grow here. If people gain an understanding of the beautiful game and still do not like it, that is their opinion which they are entitled to; it also means it will be easier for me to get a ticket or find a seat at the bar. Cheers!

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