Today MLS commissioner Don Garber held his State of the League address. Two of the main topics were were the schedule for the 2012 season and the league's 20th franchise.
In regards to the schedule, Garber said that the league will not expand the number of games played. There will be 34 games for each team next season, which means we've seen the end of the balanced schedule. The schedule will focus on regional rivalries instead. I understand the frustration of a lot of the people that don't like this. I understand what they say about more games reducing the importance of those rivalry games. But really I couldn't see the league expanding the number of games played. The league already doesn't observe FIFA dates (although there are rumors they will in 2012) and the season is full as it is. It's going to be hard to fit more games than that into the season without really pushing much of the country into weather that is not going to conducive for soccer. It'll end up being interesting to see which teams will come in as KC's "rivals" for next season. The schedule should be coming out in December or Early January, giving more time to plan potential road trips this year.
The other thing with the schedule is that the league is looking at changing up the hosting for MLS Cup. The league is looking to make the host of MLS Cup the team with the highest record entering the cup. Certainly something that could end up well in cities that can sell tickets. But you wonder if that could back fire if a team that doesn't sell tickets so well.
The other big point was the expansion of the league to the 20th team. Garber said that they are still working on possibly getting into New York with a New York 2 franchise. He said they still have 2 or 3 sites that they think are viable for a stadium. He also said that they have a division of it's office working towards getting a stadium in New York proper. While New York still seems to be the favorite, the league has had discussions with Las Vegas, Detroit, and Florida (not Miami). The USL-Pro side, Orlando City came out and said that they'd been the Florida team that Garber was talking about.
With regards to the division working on a stadium in New York, it's quite a contrast to the situation in DC, where Garber seems to feel very bleak about the future of DC United. DC could get the San Jose treatment and relocated (possibly to Baltimore). As a fan of KC I don't really want a team to go through what KC fans have gone through, but if you can't get something done to make the team viable, unfortunately in the end the team will move. Speaking of KC, he said that seeing how successful KC has been this year, "literally brought tears" to his eyes when thinking about where the team was a few years ago.
As always, some good information, nothing really ground breaking.