MLS shifts Houston to East

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:23 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer announced its alignment for the 2011 season, with the Houston Dynamo moving to the Eastern Conference.

"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."

The move was made to have two conferences of nine teams, with Western expansion clubs Portland and Vancouver joining the league this season. This year, every team will play each of the other 17 clubs once at home, once away, for a balanced, 34-game regular season.

"This is a new challenge, but we have the same goals and expectations," Houston 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."

MLS also announced its roster rules for 2011, with each team carrying 30-man rosters, the first 20 spots counting against the $2.675 million salary cap. The maximum budget charge for a single player is $335,000, including designated players.

The MLS season begins on Mar. 15, with Seattle Sounders FC hosting the Los Angeles Galaxy.


Photos