It has been a busy, and in some ways historic week in MLS, so let’s get to this week’s Big – 5.
1) Goodbye Chivas USA
League Commissioner Don Garber broke the news in a letter to the beleaguered supporters of the Chivas USA club, which the league has been operating since before the 2014 season began.
Here is some of what the Commissioner said to Chivas fans in his letter, “As part of our new Los Angeles strategy, we will launch a new MLS Los Angeles club for the 2017 season and will announce the new team’s ownership group later this week. I believe strongly that a new MLS Los Angeles team with passionate local ownership and an inclusive approach targeting all soccer/sports fans will be very successful.”
This may be the first time in professional sports history that a team has been voluntarily shut down for a prescribed amount of time, with a planned re-emergence.
Many questions remain to be answered, not least of which is whether L.A. needs or wants a second soccer club. And how will the league disperse the players on the Chivas USA roster, in particular breakout star Erick “Cubo” Torres? And what happens to the Goats highly rated academy? Garber should address those and other questions at a Thursday press conference.
2) Westward Ho! For Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo
With Chivas out, and eastern based clubs Orlando and New York City in, SKC and the Dynamo will join the Western Conference in time for next season with the two expansion clubs slotting into the Eastern Conference.
The moves figure to tilt the balance of league power further west, unless the two newcomers can get off to a good start.
3) Welcome Orlando and New York City
With the 2014 regular season behind us, it is time to welcome Orlando SC and New York City FC to MLS. By the time next season kicks off, the two newcomers will have passed from the realm of the possible, to actual flesh and blood teams.
4) The Playoffs
All the off the field news threatens to overshadow the league’s most exciting time of the year. There was just one playoff spot up for grabs last weekend and congratulations to Vancouver for nailing it down.
The Whitecaps went into their last match of the season against Colorado needing a win to advance, and the Caps took care of business 1-0, eliminating 2013 Western Conference Champs Portland in the process.
Meanwhile Seattle topped L.A. 2-0 in an ill tempered affair to claim the Supporters Shield, securing the regular season title and home field throughout the playoffs.
5) Playoff Matchups
The Western Conference Play in opens the postseason with fourth place Dallas hosting fifth place Vancouver Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.
In the Eastern knockout 2013 MLS Champions Sporting KC face last year’s Supporters Shield winners.
The KO winners go on to host the Conference Champions, DC United (east) and Seattle (west) in the first leg of home and away two leggers on November 2. DC will be home for the return fixture on November 8, and Seattle will host the reverse fixture on November 10.