New England Soccer Today

MLS expands schedule, possibly rosters, in 2011

Major League Soccer will expand its regular season and roster sizes in 2011.

More is more, according to Major League Soccer.

With the additions of Vancouver and Portland next season, MLS has announced that it will feature a 34-match schedule in 2011. The new schedule gives each club an additional four matches after employing a 30-match season since 2007. The additional matches ensure that the league with stick with the balanced home-away schedule that’s been in place since last season.

To accommodate the additional four matches, the regular season will commence the weekend of March 19th and run through the week of October 22nd. It is unclear whether the league will showcase its first match of the season on the preceding Thursday night as it has in recent years. The March 19th date will mark the earliest First Kick week in league history.

Additionally, it appears as though club rosters will also be expanded to 30 next season, according to Buzz Carrick of 3rd Degree. In speaking with FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, it was revealed that “next year (there) is to going to be a thirty man roster.” The current roster limit currently sits at 26, with two of those spots exclusively allocated for “home grown” academy players.

Should the rosters be expanded to thirty, it will afford managers of the extra bodies they’ve lobbied for in recent seasons, especially when faced with extra-MLS tournaments such as U.S. Open Cup, SuperLiga, CONCACAF Champions League. The possibility of expanded rosters could also hint the return of the reserve league, which has been rumored to return as early as next season.

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