What a week for the West Coast.
First, Vancouver gets an MLS team. Not sure if it technically counts as a West Coast town since it's in Canada, but it's west enough. Then, Seattle spanks New York 3-0 in their franchise opener. And now, Portland gets invited to the party.
Portland was officially named the league's 18th team on Friday and will begin play in 2011, along with Vancouver. This gives the Western part of the US (and Canada) a full eight teams. That's eight teams that are West of the Rockies anyway (is Dick's Sporting Goods Park officially west or east of the Rockies? They're part of the eight).
It won't happen but the league should stop at 18. This is a good number of teams to have and provides plenty of geographic equality. But the league likely wants a presence in St. Louis as well as possibly another Canadian team so we'll probably get to 20 soon enough.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to Portland-Seattle, Seattle-Vancouver and Vancouver-Portland.
As far as 18 teams goes... I hope the league keeps the schedule at 30 games. That could mean teams play their eight conference rivals twice (nine teams per conference), each team from the other conference once and then there would be a final game which probably would be a rivalry match so we may see Chivas-Galaxy and Seattle-Portland three times a season. I'd really like that number to be two so the games are more special and more meaningful (too many can water down the product) but the league is not about to cut down those types of games.
All those matters will be sorted out in the weeks, months and years to come. For now, rejoice Portland! And Vancouver! Welcome to the league!