The MLS 2010 season came to a close with Colorado Rapids winning the MLS Cup and LA Galaxy winning the Supporters’ Shield. Now that league and cup competitions are approaching their climax in Europe, Major League Soccer has gone on a break and waiting for the 16th season to start on March 15th, 2011.
Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will make their MLS debut – taking the total number of clubs to 18. Both the Timbers and the Whitecaps will join the Western Conference and Houston Dynamo will move into the Eastern Conference.
Despite criticism from fans and FIFA, MLS has managed to sustain their timing of its league schedule. Taking advantage of the difference of calendars of MLS and the European leagues, players have taken advantage of it by participating in the MLS and in a club in Europe, allowing them to play throughout the year. Notably, Landon Donovan and David Beckham played for LA Galaxy in the MLS and with Everton (England) and AC Milan (Italy) respectively.
Another criticism has been the complete lack of promotion and relegation system common in other parts of the world. Rather they are based around a system of fixed franchises and the reason behind it is cited by the league as the natureof the single-entity business structure, wherein the owner purchases the right to operate a majore league team in a specific city and relegation will be a breach of that contract by the league.
As far as the kits are concerned, adidas is the lone supplier of the kits for all the clubs playing in the league. Because of that, questions are raised about the amount of involvement by the club in the final decision of the kits. For example, when Seattle Sounders’ third kit for 2011 was unveiled, fans and media personnel wondered whether the Sounders actually opted for electric yellow or was it forced upon them.
The general consensus is that, clubs do have a final nod in the decision of the kits they will wear. So yes, Seattle Sounders did opt for electric yellow as their third color only after joining MLS in November 2007.
Here are the 2011 MLS kits:
New England Revolution
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver Whitecaps FC