Sport is defined by the "What If?" moment.
What if Carlos Beltran swung? What if Norwood wasn't wide right? What if I never started watching sports?
What if the International Champions Cup ended today?
For that last one, we need to examine the rules of the ICC.
As confirmed by the organizers, the tournament counts games played between the MLS teams as part of the competition. So if you were at Red Bull Arena on April 17 (when the New York Red Bulls beat San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0) or April 26 (when RBNY tied LA Galaxy, 1-1), congratulations! You saw the opening skirmishes of ICC 2015.
And those results mean the Red Bulls already have points on the board. Four points, to be exact. The win over San Jose was worth three points. The tie with LA was worth...um...that complicated things.
Per ICC rules, a shootout will occur if a match finishes tied after 90 minutes. The winner of the shootout will get two points; the loser will receive one point. Unfortunately, RBNY and LA were so engrossed in competing for the International Champions Cup on April 26, they forgot to hold a shootout.
Don't worry, the ICC has the matter covered. OaM asked for official clarification:
As MLS has no mechanism to break ties (no shootout anymore) the [Red Bulls] or any MLS team that ties in one of the MLS vs MLS games would only receive the one point.
This raises the unsettling possibility that all three MLS clubs in the tournament are at a disadvantage. Barring ICC approving some sort of impromptu shootout between LA and RBNY for that missing point, it's too late for either the Galaxy or the Red Bulls to claim their due. But LA will get another shot at ICC points when it plays San Jose on either June 27 (unlikely), July 17 (bang in the middle of ICC - guessing it will be that one) or August 29 (several weeks after ICC is due to end, so probably not).
ICC's administrators have not yet revealed which of those three dates is for international champions, but who cares?Update: thanks to the vigilant Dan Dickinson for pointing us toward the confirmed date of the LA vs SJ match that will count toward ICC standings:
.@BrianStraus @GothamistDan On a serious note, the @LAGalaxy vs @SJEarthquakes game that counts in ICC standings is July 17.— Jonathan Yardley (@jtyardley) April 28, 2015
Good for LA and San Jose. But right now: THE RED BULLS LEAD THE ICC STANDINGS.
Here is the ICC Table drawn up by me:
|New York Red Bulls||4|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||1|
|San Jose Earthquakes||0|
|European super-clubs that one guy at the bar tells you play "real football"||-|
What if the ICC ended today? I have an answer for you brave seekers: the New York Red Bulls would be the (rightful, international) champions of the prestigious midseason tournament.
Top of the table and the competition has only just been described to the public. Well done, RBNY.