Major League Soccer announced today that the Houston Dynamo will move to the Eastern Conference in 2011. Combined with the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC joining MLS as expansion clubs in 2011, the League now has two conferences of nine teams each.
Upon joining MLS in 2006, Houston became the easternmost club in the Western Conference. The two-time MLS Cup Champions are now the westernmost team in the Eastern Conference. Houston’s average distance from its Eastern Conference foes is 194.6 miles shorter than its average distance to the nine Western Conference clubs. This year, every team will play each of the other 17 clubs once at home, once away, for a balanced, 34-game regular season.
The League’s 16th season begins Tuesday, March 15 with Seattle Sounders FC hosting the LA Galaxy at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN3.com). MLS First Kick 2011 is presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. The Houston Dynamo open at home against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 19. The clubs in each conference for 2011 are as follows, in alphabetical order:
Sporting Kansas City
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
Seattle Sounders FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
MLS also posted its roster rules for 2011.