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Season expanding; shakeup in Toronto

September 14, 2010 | 6:06 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

With two new expansion clubs joining the fray in 2011, Major League Soccer will expand its regular season schedule to 34 games from the current 30-game season, the league announced on Tuesday.

The 2011 campaign will kick off on Saturday, March 19, 2011, and the 34 matches will be played in the span of 32 weeks with the regular season coming to a close on Oct. 22.

The Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers will each start play in the league in 2011.

The league also announced that it will not break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup or any other international competitions next year. In 2010 there was a two-week hiatus in MLS league play during the World Cup group stage.

The 2011 postseason format, the date for MLS Cup 2011 and the format for the 2011 regular-season schedule will be announced by MLS at a later date.

Toronto Moves: Toronto FC fired general manager Mo Johnston and coach Preki, the club announced Tuesday.

Johnston selected Preki to lead the club before this season, with an eye on Toronto’s first playoff berth. Preki led Chivas USA to the playoffs three straight years before making the move north.

Assistant Nick Dasovic, a former Canadian international, was named as interim coach. Academy director Earl Cochrane will temporarily take over Johnston’s managerial duties and will be assisted by former player Jim Brennan.

“Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as we had hoped,” said Tom Anselmi, executive vice president of TFC’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., at the team’s Tuesday press conference.

Anselmi said that the hunt for a permanent head coach and GM would begin immediately and that Dasovic and Cochrane would remain candidates.

Toronto is currently in ninth, five points out of the playoffs and in the middle of a six-game winless streak. The team has been shut out in five of  the past six league games, and has six games left.

Morales Fined: The Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee on Monday issued a fine and one-game suspension to Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales for actions taken against Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso in the Salt Lake versus Seattle game on Saturday.      
The unsportsmanlike action which endangered the safety of his opponent was not seen by the officiating crew and Morales did not receive any discipline during the match.  After reviewing the incident, the MLS Disciplinary Committee decided that the action constituted a red card offense and Morales should be suspended for one game and fined $250. Morales will serve his suspension during Salt Lake’s next League game on Saturday against the Chicago Fire.
Fines collected are donated to MLS W.O.R.K.S., Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues affecting young people and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs.

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