So last week, MLS announced teams' number 17 and 18 that will join MLS in the 2011 season. Those two teams are Portland and Vancouver, who ended up beating out St. Louis and Ottawa for those two spots. While both cities have current history with teams (Portland with the Timbers and Vancouver with the Whitecaps) that can date back in one form or another to the old NASL days, I'm disappointed in these two additions. While I'm happy that Seattle is in now, and in two years they'll have ready made rivals with Portland and Vancouver joining the league, it does little to make me really care about the expansion. To put it another way, I'm apathetic about it. Which is how I'm sure fans in Portland and Vancouver are going to feel about Kansas City.
It's disappointing for me as a fan because my hope was that St. Louis would be one of the two teams to get in this round. With Kansas City's current closest rival 8-9 hours away in either Colorado, Dallas, or Chicago, there's not an easy there and back trip for Wizards fans to take. Not only that, but each of those teams have their own teams that they are rivals with (RSL, Houston, and Columbus respectively). If St. Louis were in the league, KC would not only have a team that would be about 4 hours away, but they'd also have a team to potentially build some sort of rivalry with. Sure St. Louis has Chicago envy and would push for a rivalry with them, but just based on proximity they won't be able to ignore the team on the other side of the state. I'm sure both Portland and Vancouver will have great fan support, but it would have been nice to have gotten a team in the Midwest.
Beyond the want for St. Louis to have a team for rivalry purposes, it also would have been nice for geographic reasons. With Portland and Vancouver coming in, it'll give the West 10 teams and the East 8 teams. Don Garber has said in the past that the league plans to keep conferences, so that means that some team is going to need to move to the East to balance the two conferences. One would think this wouldn't affect the Wizards much, since they are already in the East. Instead I think it could greatly affect the Wizards based on the other rivals that could move. Right now, one of the Texas teams would be figured to be the team moving East. But why would MLS move either Dallas or Houston to the East and ruin their rivalry? Instead I see the league moving both Dallas and Houston to the East to keep their rivalry around, and in their place, KC will move back to the Western confernce, yet again ruining anything the team has developed with teams in the East. It's a frustrating double punch that the Wizards could possibly take with this round of expansion.