SCORESHEET: Tie the Day? What would Chip Kelly do?
Just wondering: Could a guy like Chip Kelly stand being a pro soccer coach?
For one thing, it would be harder to push the pace or catch the defense napping. You can't beat the other team to the line of scrimmage or the snap, because there is no line of scrimmage and there is no snap.
But it's those darn draws that I think would be really frustrating to the former Oregon Ducks football coach.
I can't see Kelly content to play for a tie. Or ordering his team sit back in defensive mode, even in the final minute of a game on the road.
Or having his breathless keeper rush to take every goal kick in 1.2 seconds with his team leading 1-0 in the second half.
I can't see the former Kelly happily putting signs around the stadium that say, "Tie the Day."
That's about as likely as Kelly, now totally in rebuild-the-Philadelphia Eagles mode, embracing the concept of soccer's stoppage time: Wait, the other team can extend the length of the game just by having one of its guys fake an injury and writhe in "pain" midway through the half?
But, of course, soccer is not like either the NFL or major college football.
In soccer, a tie is, at least in theory, a very good thing about half the time and not a bad thing most of the time.
Take this year's Portland Timbers, for example, who have been almost unbeatable. Not un-drawable, but nearly unbeatable.
The 2013 Timbers, who show no signs of letting up, have seven MLS wins, one loss and nine ties three more than any other team in the league.
The Timbers' tie percentage is .529, well above the league average of .273.
In the MLS, you tie every regular-season game and finish with 34 points.
That won't get you into the playoffs, but it puts you in the ballpark, er, soccer-specific stadium.
Turn a handful of those draws into wins and you might sneak into a postseason spot (with a 5-0-29 record and 44 points).
Tie a third of your games and win one-third and you're there (12-12-12, 48 points, likely enough to qualify)
This year's Timbers are on pace to do even better than that. They'll finish with 60 points if they repeat their performance in the first half of the season (and finish with a 14-2-18 record, 60 points).
The Timbers' success is thanks in part to their ties and in part to Portland having won four of its last seven MLS matches (with ties in the other three games).
The Timbers have showed that they know how to tie the day. And they are showing that they also know how to win the day.
Hey, if this Chip Kelly/Eagles thing doesn't work out, maybe Caleb Porter has a place on his soccer staff for a fast-talking former NFL coach?