|MLS Cup||Los Angeles Galaxy (3rd title)|
|Supporters' Shield||Los Angeles Galaxy (4th shield)|
|Champions League (U.S.)||Los Angeles Galaxy
Seattle Sounders FC (via U.S. Open Cup)
Real Salt Lake
|Champions League (Canada)||Toronto FC (via Canadian Championship)|
|Goals scored||795 (2.6 per match)|
|Biggest home win||NY 5-0 TOR
|Biggest away win||DCU 0-4 NY
TOR 2-6 PHI
VAN 0-4 LA
|Highest scoring||8 goals:
TOR 2-6 PHI
SEA 6-2 CLB
PHI 4-4 NE
|Longest winning run||5 matches:
Real Salt Lake
(August 27 - Sep 21)
|Longest unbeaten run||14 matches:
Los Angeles Galaxy
(May 7 - July 30)
(May 28 - August 3)
|Longest winless run||14 matches:
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
(March 26 - June 11)
|Longest losing run||5 matches:
(April 16 - May 21)
New England Revolution(September 16 - October 15)
SJ @ SEA
TOR @ NE
The 2011 Major League Soccer season was the 99th season of FIFA-sanctioned soccer, the 33rd with a national first-division league, in the United States and Canada, and the 16th season of Major League Soccer. The season marked the arrival of two new league clubs, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, whose cities previously had clubs of similar name play in the USSF D2 Pro League. Those two new West Coast clubs led to a realignment of the league's conferences, with Houston Dynamo moving to the Eastern Conference to create two conferences of nine teams each.
Each team played a balanced 34-match regular season schedule, playing every team twice (once at home and once away). The regular season began on March 15, when the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 at Qwest Field, and concluded with the host Houston Dynamo defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 on October 23 at Robertson Stadium. The season also featured the 2011 MLS All-Star Game on July 27, when Manchester United defeated the MLS All-Stars 4-0 at Red Bull Arena (hosted by the New York Red Bulls). The 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs ran from October 26 until November 20, when the Los Angeles Galaxy claimed their third MLS championship by defeating Houston Dynamo 1-0 in MLS Cup 2011 at Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
A number of structural changes were made prior to this season, involving both on- and off-the field aspects of the league.
To accommodate the arrival of the two new franchises, the league expanded the number of regular season matches to 34 total games.
The MLS Cup Playoffs expanded from eight teams to ten. Beginning with this season, the best three teams from each conference receive guaranteed playoff spots; the four teams with the next best point totals will play one-match knockout games to determine the final participant for each conference. With the new playoff structure, comes a new incentive for the MLS Supporters Shield winner, who will play the lowest seeded team to qualify for the conference semifinals.
Furthermore, the MLS Reserve Division returned; the rosters accordingly expanded to 30 players. Other minor changes included the shortening of the MLS SuperDraft from four rounds, down to three, and the expansion of the number of guaranteed spots reserved for away supporters from 150 to 500.
Team rosters were expanded to 30 players in order to accommodate the re-introduction of the MLS Reserve Division. Of these 30 players, 18-20 count against a club's salary cap of $2,675,000. Clubs may still have a maximum of three Designated Players per club, each of whom counts $335,000 for salary cap purposes. The transfer windows for acquisition of players under contract in another country run from January 21 - April 15 and from July 15 - August 14.
Other key roster rule changes were the introduction of Off-Budget players who do not count against a club's salary cap; the ability of clubs to forgo fielding a full roster of 30 players for salary reasons; the introduction of roster slots paid below last year's league minimum; the ability of the two Canadian clubs to count U.S. domestic players as domestic players for roster purposes; and the ability of clubs to buy out one guaranteed player contract during the off-season and free up the corresponding budget space.
|Team||Outgoing coach||Manner of departure||Date of vacancy||Table||Incoming coach||Date of appointment||Table|
||John Spencer||August 10, 2010||Pre-season|
|Chivas USA||Martín Vásquez||Fired||October 27, 2010||8th West ('10)||Robin Fraser||January 4, 2011||Pre-season|
|Toronto FC||Nick Dasovic||Caretaker||September 14, 2010||5th East ('09)||Aron Winter||January 6, 2011||Pre-season|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Teitur Thordarson||Fired||May 29, 2011||9th West ('11)||Tom Soehn||May 29, 2011||9th West ('11)|
|Chicago Fire||Carlos de los Cobos||Fired||May 30, 2011||8th East ('11)||Frank Klopas||May 30, 2011||8th East ('11)|
Two new expansion clubs entered the league: Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. These clubs, alluding to their history, are the immediate successors to clubs that played in the USSF D2 Pro League in 2010, and before that the USL First Division. Both clubs also bear the names of members of the original North American Soccer League.
|Chicago Fire||Chivas USA||Colorado Rapids||Columbus Crew||D.C. United||FC Dallas|
|Toyota Park||Home Depot Center||Dick's Sporting Goods Park||Crew Stadium||RFK Memorial Stadium||Pizza Hut Park|
|Capacity: 22,000||Capacity: 27,000||Capacity: 19,680||Capacity: 20,455||Capacity: 45,596||Capacity: 21,193|
|Houston Dynamo||Los Angeles Galaxy||New England Revolution||New York Red Bulls||Philadelphia Union||Portland Timbers|
|Robertson Stadium||Home Depot Center||Gillette Stadium||Red Bull Arena||PPL Park||Jeld-Wen Field|
|Capacity: 32,000||Capacity: 27,000||Capacity: 22,385||Capacity: 25,189||Capacity: 18,500||Capacity: 20,323|
|Real Salt Lake||San Jose Earthquakes||Seattle Sounders FC||Sporting Kansas City||Toronto FC||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Rio Tinto Stadium||Buck Shaw Stadium||CenturyLink Field||Livestrong Sporting Park||BMO Field||BC Place1|
|Capacity: 20,008||Capacity: 10,300||Capacity: 36,700||Capacity: 18,467||Capacity: 23,000||Capacity: 22,000|
Both of the new teams to MLS received jersey sponsors, while several existing teams saw changes in jersey sponsorships for the 2011 season.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players and managers may hold one or more non-FIFA nationalities.
|Team||Head Coach||Captain||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|Chicago Fire||Klopas, FrankFrank Klopas||Pause, LoganLogan Pause||Adidas|
|Chivas USA||Fraser, RobinRobin Fraser||Elliott, SimonSimon Elliott||Adidas||Corona|
|Colorado Rapids||Smith, GaryGary Smith||Mastroeni, PabloPablo Mastroeni||Adidas|
|Columbus Crew||Warzycha, RobertRobert Warzycha||Marshall, ChadChad Marshall||Adidas|
|D.C. United||Olsen, BenBen Olsen||Wolff, JoshJosh Wolff||Adidas||Volkswagen|
|FC Dallas||Hyndman, SchellasSchellas Hyndman||Hernández, DanielDaniel Hernández||Adidas|
|Houston Dynamo||Kinnear, DominicDominic Kinnear||Ching, BrianBrian Ching||Adidas||Greenstar|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||Arena, BruceBruce Arena||Donovan, LandonLandon Donovan||Adidas||Herbalife|
|New England Revolution||Nicol, SteveSteve Nicol||Joseph, ShalrieShalrie Joseph||Adidas||UnitedHealthcare|
|New York Red Bulls||Backe, HansHans Backe||Henry, ThierryThierry Henry||Adidas||Red Bull|
|Philadelphia Union||Nowak, PiotrPiotr Nowak||Mondragón, FarydFaryd Mondragón||Adidas||Bimbo|
|Portland Timbers||Spencer, JohnJohn Spencer||Jewsbury, JackJack Jewsbury||Adidas||Alaska Airlines|
|Real Salt Lake||Kreis, JasonJason Kreis||Beckerman, KyleKyle Beckerman||Adidas||XanGo|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Yallop, FrankFrank Yallop||Corrales, RamiroRamiro Corrales||Adidas||Amway Global|
|Seattle Sounders FC||Schmid, SigiSigi Schmid||Keller, KaseyKasey Keller||Adidas||Xbox|
|Sporting Kansas City||Vermes, PeterPeter Vermes||Arnaud, DavyDavy Arnaud||Adidas|
|Toronto FC||Winter, AronAron Winter||Frings, TorstenTorsten Frings||Adidas||Bank of Montreal|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Soehn, TomTom Soehn||DeMerit, JayJay DeMerit||Adidas||Bell Canada|
|1||LA Galaxy (SS) (W1)||67||34||19||5||10||48||28||+20||2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage 2|
|2||Seattle Sounders FC||63||34||18||7||9||56||37||+19|
|3||Real Salt Lake||53||34||15||11||8||44||36||+8|
|5||Sporting Kansas City (E1)||51||34||13||9||12||50||40||+10|
|6||Houston Dynamo||49||34||12||9||13||45||41||+4||2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage 2|
|10||New York Red Bulls||46||34||10||8||16||50||44||+6|
|14||San Jose Earthquakes||38||34||8||12||14||40||45||-5|
|16||Toronto FC||33||34||6||13||15||36||59||-23||2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round 3|
|17||New England Revolution||28||34||5||16||13||38||58||-20|
|18||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||28||34||6||18||10||35||55||-20|
Updated to matches played on October 22, 2011 (NER v TFC). Source: MLSSoccer.com
|1||Sporting Kansas City (E1)||51||34||13||9||12||50||40||+10||2011 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals|
|4||Columbus Crew||47||34||13||13||8||43||44||-1||2011 MLS Cup Play-In Round|
|5||New York Red Bulls||46||34||10||8||16||50||44||+6|
|9||New England Revolution||28||34||5||16||13||38||58||-20|
Updated to matches played on October 20, 2011. Source: MLSSoccer.com
|1||LA Galaxy (SS) (W1)||67||34||19||5||10||48||28||+20||2011 MLS Cup Conference Semifinals|
|2||Seattle Sounders FC||63||34||18||7||9||56||37||+19|
|3||Real Salt Lake||53||34||15||11||8||44||36||+8|
|4||FC Dallas||52||34||15||12||7||42||39||+3||2011 MLS Cup Play-In Round|
|7||San Jose Earthquakes||38||34||8||12||14||40||45||-5|
|9||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||28||34||6||18||10||35||55||-20|
Updated to matches played on October 22, 2011. Source: MLSSoccer.com
If more than two clubs are tied, once a club advances through any step, the process reverts to Tiebreaker 1 among the remaining tied clubs recursively until all ties are resolved.
For the second year in a row, the league uses a balanced schedule. Each team will play every other team twice, home and away, for a total of 34 games.
|New England Revolution|
|New York Red Bulls|
|Real Salt Lake|
|San Jose Earthquakes|
|Seattle Sounders FC|
|Sporting Kansas City|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
Updated to games played on October 20, 2011.
Source: official website
1 ^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
For coming matches, an a indicates there is an article about the match.
|Knockout Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||MLS Cup 2011|
|E1||Sporting Kansas City||2||2|
|8||Colorado Rapids||1||WC||Colorado Rapids||0||0|
|E1||Sporting Kansas City||0|
|9||Columbus Crew||0||Eastern Conference|
|W2||Seattle Sounders FC||0||2|
|W3||Real Salt Lake||3||0|
|W3||Real Salt Lake||1|
|7||FC Dallas||0||Western Conference|
|10||New York Red Bulls||2||W1||LA Galaxy||1||2|
|WC||New York Red Bulls||0||1|
Note: The LA Galaxy, as MLS Supporters Shield winners, were assured of playing the lower seeded Wild Card series winner (New York Red Bulls) in the Conference Semifinals, while Sporting Kansas City would play the higher seeded Wild Card series winner (Colorado Rapids).
Last updated on October 23, 2011. Source: MLSsoccer.com statistics - Goals
Last updated on October 23, 2011. Source: MLSsoccer.com statistics - Assists
(Minimum of 1,000 minutes played)
|1||Donovan Ricketts||Los Angeles Galaxy||0.77||41||11||1284||15||7-3-4||7|
|2||Josh Saunders||Los Angeles Galaxy||0.93||55||17||1639||19||12-2-4||8|
|3||Kevin Hartman||FC Dallas||1.06||85||35||2970||33||15-11-7||13|
|Faryd Mondragón||Philadelphia Union||1.06||49||28||2385||27||8-8-11||7|
|5||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC||1.09||110||37||3060||34||18-7-9||9|
|Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake||1.09||95||36||2970||33||14-11-8||13|
|7||Bouna Coundoul||New York Red Bulls||1.13||37||13||1035||12||3-2-6||3|
|8||Jimmy Nielsen||Sporting Kansas City||1.14||79||35||2767||31||12-8-11||7|
|9||Tally Hall||Houston Dynamo||1.21||99||41||3060||34||12-9-13||6|
|Matt Pickens||Colorado Rapids||1.21||77||41||3060||34||12-9-13||8|
|11||Dan Kennedy||Chivas USA||1.22||100||39||2880||31||8-12-12||9|
|12||Troy Perkins||Portland Timbers||1.31||91||38||2610||29||9-12-8||9|
Last updated on October 23, 2011. Source: MLSsoccer.com statistics - Goalkeeping
|Month||MLS Player of the Month||MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month|
|March||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake||1GA 2-0-0||Fredy Montero||Seattle Sounders FC||March Humanitarian|
|April||Brad Davis||Houston Dynamo||6A 3-0-2||Daniel Hernández||FC Dallas||April Humanitarian|
|May||Landon Donovan||Los Angeles Galaxy||6G||Danny Cruz||Houston Dynamo||May Humanitarian|
|June||Graham Zusi||Sporting Kansas City||2G 3GWA 3-0-3||Zak Boggs||New England Revolution||June Humanitarian|
|July||Kevin Hartman||FC Dallas||4SO 6GS||Jeb Brovsky||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||July Humanitarian|
|August||Dwayne De Rosario||D.C. United||3G 2A||Jack Jewsbury||Portland Timbers||August Humanitarian|
|September||Sébastien Le Toux||Philadelphia Union||7G|| Mehdi Ballouchy
|New York Red Bulls
San Jose Earthquakes
|October||Chris Wondolowski||San Jose Earthquakes||5G||Geoff Cameron||Houston Dynamo||October Humanitarian|
|Week||Player of the Week||AT&T Goal of the Week||MLS Save of the Week|
|Week 1||Omar Bravo||Sporting Kansas City||Juan Agudelo||New York Red Bulls||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake|
|Week 2||Javier Morales||Real Salt Lake||Javier Martina||Toronto FC||Jake Gleeson||Portland Timbers|
|Week 3||Camilo||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Khari Stephenson||San Jose Earthquakes||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Week 4||David Ferreira||FC Dallas||O'Brian White||Seattle Sounders FC||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Week 5||Luke Rodgers||New York Red Bulls||Jorge Perlaza||Portland Timbers||Jake Gleeson||Portland Timbers|
|Week 6||Landon Donovan||Los Angeles Galaxy||Juan Agudelo||New York Red Bulls||Donovan Ricketts||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Week 7||Will Bruin||Houston Dynamo||Brek Shea||FC Dallas||Bobby Shuttleworth||New England Revolution|
|Week 8||Joao Plata||Toronto FC||Thierry Henry||New York Red Bulls||Tim Ream||New York Red Bulls|
|Week 9||Justin Braun||Chivas USA||David Beckham||Los Angeles Galaxy||Stefan Frei||Toronto FC|
|Week 10||Jeff Parke||Seattle Sounders FC||Carlos Ruiz||Philadelphia Union||Troy Perkins||Portland Timbers|
|Week 11||Justin Mapp||Philadelphia Union||Lamar Neagle||Seattle Sounders FC||Donovan & DeLaGarza||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Week 12||Jean Alexandre||Real Salt Lake||Jean Alexandre||Real Salt Lake||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Week 13||Steven Lenhart||San Jose Earthquakes||Eric Hassli||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Greg Sutton||New York Red Bulls|
|Week 14||Bernardo Anor||Columbus Crew||Fredy Montero||Seattle Sounders FC||Teemu Tainio||New York Red Bulls|
|Week 15||Mike Magee||Los Angeles Galaxy||Tyson Wahl||Seattle Sounders FC||Mike Magee||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Week 16||Joel Lindpere||New York Red Bulls||Darlington Nagbe||Portland Timbers||Brian Perk||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Week 17||Fredy Montero||Seattle Sounders FC||David Beckham||Los Angeles Galaxy||Troy Perkins||Portland Timbers|
|Week 18||Mauro Rosales||Seattle Sounders FC||Carlos Ruiz||Philadelphia Union||Troy Perkins||Portland Timbers|
|Week 19||Sanna Nyassi||Colorado Rapids||Kei Kamara||Sporting Kansas City||Jimmy Nielsen||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 20||Dwayne De Rosario||D.C. United||Roger Torres||Philadelphia Union||Andy Gruenebaum||Columbus Crew|
|Week 21||Dwayne De Rosario||D.C. United||Luis Gil||Real Salt Lake||Jimmy Nielsen||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 22||Chris Pontius||D.C. United||Adam Moffat||Houston Dynamo||Milo? Koci?||Toronto FC|
|Week 23||Graham Zusi||Sporting Kansas City||Graham Zusi||Sporting Kansas City||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Week 24||Lamar Neagle||Seattle Sounders FC||Lamar Neagle||Seattle Sounders FC||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake|
||Kyle Beckerman||Real Salt Lake||Jimmy Nielsen||Sporting Kansas City|
|Week 26||Charlie Davies||D.C. United||Davide Chiumiento||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Joe Cannon||Vancouver Whitecaps FC|
|Week 27||Danny Koevermans||Toronto FC||Álvaro Fernández||Seattle Sounders FC||Zac MacMath||Philadelphia Union|
|Week 28||Dwayne De Rosario||D.C. United||Fredy Montero||Seattle Sounders FC||Troy Perkins||Portland Timbers|
|Week 29||Marco Pappa||Chicago Fire||Kenny Cooper||Portland Timbers||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake|
||Chris Wondolowski||San Jose Earthquakes||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Week 31||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC||Danny Cruz||Houston Dynamo||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Week 32||Jalil Anibaba||Chicago Fire||Adam Moffat||Houston Dynamo||Jimmy Nielsen||Sporting Kansas City|
Major League Soccer employs no fewer than 12 methods to acquire players. These include: signing players on transfers/free transfers as is done in most of the world; via trades; drafting players through mechanisms such as the MLS SuperDraft, MLS Supplemental Draft, or MLS Re-Entry Draft; rarely used methods which cover extreme hardship and injury replacement; signing players as Designated Players or Homegrown Players; placing a discovery claim on players; waivers; and methods peculiar to MLS such as through allocation or a weighted lottery.
The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee. The allocation rankings may also be used in the event two or more clubs file a request for the same player on the same day. The allocations will be ranked in reverse order of finish for the 2010 season, taking playoff performance into account.
Once the club uses its allocation ranking to acquire a player, it drops to the bottom of the list. A ranking can be traded, provided that part of the compensation received in return is another club's ranking. At all times, each club is assigned one ranking. The rankings reset at the end of each MLS League season.
|Original Ranking||Club||Date Allocation Used||Player Signed||Previous Club||Ref|
|1||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||November 18, 2010||Jay DeMerit||Watford|||
|2||Portland Timbers||January 17, 2011||Kenny Cooper||1860 Munich|||
|3||D.C. United||February 16, 2011||Charlie Davies||Sochaux¤|||
|5||Philadelphia Union||August 12, 2011||Freddy Adu||Benfica|||
|6||New England Revolution||April 19, 2011||Benny Feilhaber||AGF Aarhus|||
|9||Seattle Sounders FC¤¤||August 26, 2011||Sammy Ochoa||Estudiantes Tecos|||
|10||Sporting Kansas City|
¤ Davies was signed by United on a twelve-month loan deal.
¤¤ Chicago originally had the No. 9 ranking but traded it to Seattle on August 26, 2011.
The remaining order after Sporting Kansas City is: Chicago Fire¤¤, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas, and Colorado Rapids. In the unlikely event that all clubs use an allocation, the order begins anew with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Some players are assigned to MLS teams via a weighted lottery process. A team can only acquire one player per year through a weighted lottery. The players made available through lotteries include: (i) Generation adidas players signed after the MLS SuperDraft; and (ii) Draft eligible players to whom an MLS contract was offered but who failed to sign with the League prior to the SuperDraft.
The team with the worst record over its last 30 regular season games (dating back to previous season if necessary and taking playoff performance into account) will have the greatest probability of winning the lottery. Teams are not required to participate in a lottery. Players are assigned via the lottery system in order to prevent a player from potentially influencing his destination club with a strategic holdout.
The results of 2011 weighted lotteries:
|Lottery Date||Player||Position||Winning Club||Other Clubs Participating||Ref|
|January 26, 2011||David Bingham||GK||San Jose Earthquakes||New England Revolution, Toronto FC, Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders FC, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC|||
|February 11, 2011||Cody Arnoux||FW||Real Salt Lake||Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders FC, Columbus Crew, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC|||
|February 14, 2011||Chris Agorsor||FW||Philadelphia Union||Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC|||
|February 15, 2011||Korey Veeder||DF||Columbus Crew||Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders FC, Colorado Rapids|||
|July 5, 2011||Soony Saad||FW||Sporting Kansas City||Chivas USA, Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers|||
Prior to the start of the MLS regular season, Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake played against each other in the quarterfinals of 2010-11 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. The first leg, contested at Crew Stadium on February 22, 2011; ended in a scoreless draw between the sides. On March 1, 2011; the second leg at Rio Tinto Stadium was played, where Real Salt Lake won the series against the Crew 4-1 in the game and on aggregate, this ending Columbus' Champions League campaign.
As a result, Salt Lake became the first MLS team to advance into the semifinals of the Champions League under its current format. The team won its home fixture against Saprissa of Costa Rica 2-0 on March 15, 2011. Real Salt Lake lost the away fixture 2-1 on April 5, 2011, but advanced 3-2 on aggregate. They faced Monterrey of Mexico in the first leg of the final on April 20 in Monterrey. The game concluded in a 2-2 draw. The second leg was played at Rio Tinto on April 27, 2011. Monterrey won 1-0 (3-2 on aggregate) with a late goal in the first half.
Colorado Rapids and Los Angeles Galaxy have qualified directly into Group Stage for the 2011-12 edition of the Champions League by being the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield winners, respectively. Both Seattle Sounders FC and FC Dallas have earned preliminary entries in the tournament by winning the U.S. Open Cup and finishing runner up in the MLS Cup, respectively. Toronto FC secured the Canadian berth in the preliminary round with their Voyageurs Cup victory on July 2.
On March 29, 2011 MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed that the 2011 edition of the North American SuperLiga would be replaced by the World Football Challenge, a friendly tournament which started play on July 14 and will end on August 6.
The MLS clubs that finished first through sixth place overall during last year's regular season earned a direct bye to the third round proper of the U.S. Open Cup. Clubs that finished seventh or lower will have to play for the final two spots in a series of play-in propers, based on their geographic location as well as their final regular season position.
The two Canadian-based MLS clubs, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC participated in the Canadian Championship, Canada's domestic soccer cup. They competed against two other professional Canadian soccer teams from the NASL for the Voyageurs Cup, as well as a Preliminary Round birth in the CONCACAF Champions League. The tournament is organized in a knockout format with two-legged ties in both the semifinals and final, with the away goals rule in place.
The two began in the semifinal round, where the Whitecaps defeated the Montreal Impact and Toronto defeated FC Edmonton. The first leg of the final, held in Vancouver on May 18, ended in a 1-1 draw. The second leg, on May 25 in Toronto, was abandoned due to torrential rains with the Whitecaps leading 1-0. Under competition rules, the second leg was to be replayed in its entirety the following day, but the field remained unplayable. The second leg was replayed, again in its entirety, on July 2, with Toronto winning the game 2-1 and the championship 3-2 on aggregate.
Following the 2011 season, ten MLS clubs will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs postseason tournament. Of the ten clubs, six will be automatic qualifiers from the top three clubs in each conference. These automatic qualifiers earn a bye to the conference semifinal, or quarterfinal round proper. Four more qualifiers will enter in a play-in round, where these for clubs will be determined by their final regular season standing, regardless of their conference. The winners of the play-in games will play in the conference semifinals, where the lowest seeded club will play against the Supporters' Shield winners.
The cup final will be held on a neutral venue.
This season marks the first time that the Cascadia Cup will be contested in Major League Soccer. Seattle, Portland and Vancouver contested this cup from 2004-08 until Seattle joined Major League Soccer. The competition continued between Portland and Vancouver for the next two years.