MLS still undecided on future realignment, competition format upon NYC FC inclusion

With the addition of a 20th team, and one that would be the 11th in the Eastern Conference, MLS has to consider realignment and changing its competition format in 2015.
New York City FC's inclusion in Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2015 will pose a bit of a problem for the league's competition committee.

For one, NYC FC's entry into the Eastern Conference would create a greater imbalance than what already exists, with 11 teams stationed in the East and nine in the Western Conference. If the league is to remain in a two-conference format, it is presumed that one team would go over to the West, with the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City making for the most logical geographical choices.

The Dynamo moved from the Western Conference to the East upon the inclusion of the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011, and club president Chris Canetti believes that a move back could be in the cards.

"I can only guess, but it would seem to make sense that the Dynamo are relocated back to the Western Conference," Canetti told the Dynamo's official website on Tuesday. "It would balance out the conferences with 10 teams per side, and it makes the most geographical sense for us to be realigned."

With an even number of teams in the league overall, the potential for a balanced schedule would be back in play as well. A greater emphasis has been put on conference games and accentuating rivalries with the 34-game unbalanced schedule, and whether the league would revert to a balanced format -- and possibly extending to 38 games -- is still up for consideration.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said that the league has not yet surveyed its options for either issue, though, and that a resolution would be forthcoming.

"[Those are issues] that we haven't begun addressing yet," Garber said on a conference call with reporters.
"We'll be able to do that in due time. Two thoughts that we obviously have to spend some time trying to resolve."

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