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An American’s Take On 0-0 Ties

Ties in sports are the most frustrating thing ever.

Atalanta BC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
How it feels watching a stalemate.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Why are ties still a thing in soccer? This is a question that keeps me up every night. As an American there are certain parts of European that just does not make sense to me. So when these things come up in the Fiorentina season I will give you the an American’s perspective on them. This past weekend Fiorentina had a 0-0 tie with Atalanta. First of all I had to wake up by 6:30 AM to watch this match, but that is not something to complain about. During my sleepy stupor of watching this match I kept thinking about how nothing was really happening in the game.

Soccer is one of the most beautiful sports out there. Even though it is beautiful and popular, that does not mean there are no flaws with the sport. Why is there still a system with ties? I understand that there are some tournaments that do not have ties and they will go to a golden goal format, penalty kicks, or even play another 30 minutes. The question is why has that not been adapted in Serie A? The only reason I can think of is the point system. As an American I am used to having teams compete for a playoff position and then the playoffs is like a fresh start for every team that makes it. In Serie A whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins the league. Isn’t that a little boring?

Are any fans really satisfied after watching a match that consisted of no goals whatsoever? This past weekend’s game was like watching a match of pong where no one got the ball past the other. I really do not need to get into why that is boring, but nothing happened. The teams could have sat on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes and had the same result.

As currently constituted the Serie A point system rewards 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss. A fun way to shake it up would be to do something similar to what the NHL does. They have a very similar point system that rewards 2 points for a win, 1 point for an overtime loss and 0 points for a regular time loss. What my proposal is for Serie A is to have two 15 minute overtime periods and whoever is leading at the end will win the game. If it is still time it goes into a shootout. The incentive behind this would be that the teams would still get a point for tying in regulation time, but there will still be a winner. The winner of the overtime would receive and extra point, meaning they would be awarded 2 points. They still are penalized for not winning in regulation, but are rewarded for winning the match.

The only reason I can think of for there not being overtime is that Soccer wants to keep their games short. What is really beautiful about soccer compared to baseball, football, basketball, and hockey is that it is shorter than the others. Two hours to watch a game is amazing compared to the 3 or even 4 hours of other sports. If there was overtime it would cut into that. An easy way to do this is a shootout. They do not take that long, but are more of crap shoot than anything. As a former goalkeeper I am aware of how difficult it is to actually read and save a penalty shot. It comes down to luck more than anything.

All in all it is very disappointing to watch a game and get no outcome. Generally, fans enjoy the prospect of seeing a team win or lose. Ties leave a bit of an empty feeling that is not fun for anyone. What do you think about ties in Serie A? Comment below.