Glad to hear we are on the same page, at least for the kids playing in the younger leagues where the place you finish isn't required for the team to advance. Most of the parents and coaches I've seen in the CsPL (and pretty much everywhere) seem to live and die by the score of their 9 year old kid's game.
The teams that depend solely on "kick and run" do tend to fall off. On the flip side, teams that force kids to pass-pass-pass don't give kids a chance to fail on the dribble (learn to beat someone on the dribble), which is also a required skill.
Based on the fall, looks like the reason why there has been such a lack of participation by clubs like SCUFC and Discoveries in local Charleston tournaments is because you play them in this league, like you say. That has its benefits and drawbacks. We used to just see them in tournaments instead of the league. USAMP and JIYSC are the only ones who run local tournaments, so it really only hurts them. I think GPS used to play those teams in tournaments as well, so it is six of one, half dozen the other for you too.