HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Dynamo will move to the Eastern Conference beginning with the 2011 season, Major League Soccer announced today. The move keeps the league’s conferences balanced at nine teams apiece following the addition of expansion clubs Portland and Vancouver to the Western Conference. The Dynamo’s schedule – two games against each MLS opponent – will remain unchanged.
“This change is something we are comfortable with,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said. “As the league grows, these changes are sometimes necessary, and we accept that. With a balanced schedule, we don’t believe this will have a significant impact on our season.”
Houston’s average distance from its Eastern Conference foes is 194.6 miles shorter than its average distance to the nine Western Conference clubs. Last year, six teams from the Western Conference and two teams from the Eastern Conference qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“This is a new challenge, but we have the same goals and expectations,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Making the playoffs is always still the goal, no matter what conference we play in. We play every team twice, so the schedule doesn’t change.”
The clubs in each conference for 2011 are as follows, in alphabetical order:
EASTERN CONFERENCE WESTERN CONFERENCE
Chicago Fire Chivas USA
Columbus Crew Colorado Rapids
D.C. United FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo LA Galaxy
Sporting Kansas City Portland Timbers
New England Revolution RealSaltLake
New York Red Bulls San Jose Earthquakes
Philadelphia Union Seattle Sounders
Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps
The Dynamo’s 2011 MLS regular season opener is set for Saturday, March 19, against the Philadelphia Union at Robertson Stadium. Tickets are available at HoustonDynamo.com.