The Full 90

MLS moves Houston to Eastern Conference, releases roster rules

With the addition of the expansion Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps to the Western Conference, Major League Soccer have moved the Houston Dynamo to the Eastern Conference in 2011. Both conferences now have nine teams, Sporting Kansas City remains in the Eastern Conference.

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 8:30 p.m. CT (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and Sporting Kansas City opens their season on the road against Chivas USA on March 19.

The clubs in each conference for 2011 are as follows, in alphabetical order:

MLS wasn't done there. They also released the new roster rules. Each team is now allowed a roster of up to 30 players, all of whom are eligible for selection to each team's 18-player game-day squad.

Players occupying the first 20 roster spots will count against the club's 2011 salary budget of $2,675,000. These are the Salary Budget Players. Roster spots 19 and 20 are not required to be filled and teams may spread their salary budget across only 18 players.

The players occupying roster spots 21-30 do not count against the club's salary budget and are referred to as Off-Budget Players (with a maximum of 10 per team). All Generation adidas players are Off-Budget -- for Kansas City, this applies only to Teal Bunbury.

In 2011, players in roster spots 1-24 will earn at least $42,000; players in 25-30 will earn at least $32,600.

A total of 144 international slots are divided among the 18 clubs. Each club began with eight international slots, which are tradable. There is no limit on the number of international slots on each club’s roster. (Kansas City currently has 9 available slots.)

If you want to read more about the roster rules, you can do so

Chicago Fire Chivas USA
Columbus Crew Colorado Rapids
D.C. United FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo LA Galaxy
Sporting Kansas CityPortland Timbers
New England RevolutionReal Salt Lake
New York Red BullsSan Jose Earthquakes
Philadelphia Union Seattle Sounders FC
Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC