With CCL fate set, a look at what was not but could have been

With CCL fate set, a look at what was not but could have been

If you don't know the tiebreakers in CONCACAF Champions League by now, I suggest you go take a look at what I wrote over at RSL Soapbox this morning or — if you'd rather — at this piece by over at the "dot-com." After last night's 2-1 win by Herediano over Tauro, it all becomes a bit relevant.

It all boils down rather simply though: We must win by either a 1-0 scoreline or two goals or more to progress. Any other sort of scoreline gives Herediano a rather significant advantage, in that they go through. Ouch. It's funny to note that if Tauro hadn't scored last night and the scoreline sat at 2-0, we'd have been subjected to the drawing of lots. Wait, really?

Sortition, or the casting of lots, has its roots in Ancient Greek democracy, and philosopher Aristotle took to it in his Politics. Of course, Plato, being a notable non-fan of democracy, wouldn't much have liked the casting of lots, but this is another issue altogether. Without further ado, here are some interesting things done with the casting of lots that aren't tiebreakers in the CONCACAF Champions League.

  • The Hebrew Bible apparently makes reference to the casting of lots to determine some "whose cause this evil is upon us."
  • People on lifeboats floating out aimlessly at sea after the destruction (or capture by pirates) of their ship are notorious for the casting of lots to determine who should die such that the others might eat their flesh. Ew. (I don't know if that's true, though. I once saw a Far Side comic about it. That counts, right?)
  • On that note, there is a court case regarding the throwing of people from an overburdened lifeboat that's worth a read: http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/essays/casting_of_lots/us_v_holmes.html
  • You can find casting lots on about every three pages of the Bible. (Not really, but it's there a lot.)
  • FIFA apparently uses four dark stones and one light stone to determine who will cast lots in tiebreakers, too.

So, you see, there are a number of circumstances in which this is done. I fail to see why you'd draw lots when there could be more tiebreakers — you know, like yellow card accumulation, red card accumulation and the like. Oh, that would hurt us, wouldn't it? Oh…

Here are some methods I think might be more fair than casting lots to determine a CONCACAF Champions League tiebreaker.

  • The catching of fish. Kyle Beckerman would be our captain in this, too, and the fish could all go toward some charitable cause. Or they could catch and release, which would be rather humane of them.
  • A dance-off. We'd probably see Paulo Jr. featuring heavily in this one. Those Brazilians and their samba.
  • The Tweet-off. We're all aware that we've got the best tweeting side in MLS, especially the resurgence of Alvaro Saborio, and we'd win this one certainly.
  • A diving contest. Here's one we probably wouldn't win. Ha. (To be fair, I don't know that Herediano is that much of a diving team, but the differences in soccer culture are clear.)

Anyhow, let's just be glad it didn't come to this. Soccer wins again.