Hunter: Soccer title may go to underdog
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 4:24 pm
Editor's Note: Leicester City did win the EPL title.
By DAVID HUNTER
One of the most popular leagues in the world could be crowning a champion this weekend in a unique way. The English Premier League, one of the world's leading soccer organizations, might have a titlist who nobody expected and it would be the biggest upset in the history of sports.
Leicester City faced one of the world's most popular teams this past weekend in Manchester United hoping to complete the dream championship season by taking home the EPL title if they defeated the so-called New York Yankees of the EPL.
The EPL is very unique in how they create a champion since unlike the professional leagues here in the United States, there is no postseason or playoffs. Instead each of the 20 teams plays 38 matches one home and away against the other teams in a season which goes from August to May.
A team gets three points in the overall standings for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss, and there is no overtime. The goal for the squads each season is two-fold as the top four teams in the final standings qualify for the UEFA Champions League the following season, which they face other top teams from the different soccer leagues around Europe to go along with their normal EPL campaign. The fifth place team will play in the Europa League the following season.
However, the catch is the bottom three teams each season will be relegated to the lower division next year. For example, supposed MLB had this rule, which the Oakland A's would move to Class AAA, and the Nashville Sounds, if they were one of the top minor league teams would move to the big leagues. I hope this example helps explain how the EPL works.
Here is why Leicester City's championship would be the ultimate underdog story, if it comes true during the last three matches of the season. Before the season started, most experts picked the Foxes to be in the running for relegation at the end of the campaign.
Instead Leicester City used the Kansas City Royals model of developing homegrown talent, not spending a lot of money on high priced transfers or free agents, and most importantly they have come together as a well-oiled machine.
Since the EPL was created in 1992, only five teams have won the season ending title with most being won by Manchester United, who has always run their team like the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys.
With three matches left this season, including this past weekend, all the Foxes have to do is get three more points and the unbelievable dream comes true.