2010 Major League Soccer season
|MLS Cup||Colorado Rapids|
|Supporters' Shield||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Champions League||Los Angeles Galaxy
Seattle Sounders FC
|SuperLiga||Real Salt Lake
New York Red Bulls
|Goals scored||591 (2.46 per match)|
|Top goalscorer||Chris Wondolowski (18 goals)|
|Biggest home win||NE 0–5 RSL
|Biggest away win||CHV 4–0 NE
(May 5)
LA 4–0 SEA
(May 8)
SEA 4–0 CLB
(Sept 18)
|Highest scoring||7 goals:
HOU 4–3 CHI
(August 21)
KCW 4–3 HOU
(September 22)
|Longest winning run||5 wins:
Real Salt Lake
(May 1 – May 29)
Seattle Sounders FC
(Sept 18 – Oct 15)
|Longest unbeaten run||18 matches:
(May 27 – Oct 16)
|Longest winless run||10 matches:
(May 22 – Aug 21)
|Longest losing run||6 losses:
C.D. Chivas USA
(May 8 – June 26)
|Highest attendance||CHI @ SEA
Att: 36,386
Seattle Sounders FC
Season: 542,600
Game Avg.: 36,173
|Lowest attendance||CHV @ NE
Lowest Gate: 5,990
Season: 144,886
Game Avg.: 9,659
|Average attendance||MLS: 16,675|
The 2010 Major League Soccer season was the 98th season of FIFA-sanctioned soccer, the 32nd with a national first-division league, in the United States and Canada, and the 15th in MLS history. It began on March 25 at Seattle's Qwest Field with Seattle Sounders FC defeating the expansion Philadelphia Union, 2–0. The 2010 MLS All-Star Game was played at Reliant Stadium, hosted by the Houston Dynamo on July 28 as the MLS XI fell 5–2 to visiting Manchester United. The regular season concluded on October 24, with Los Angeles Galaxy winning the Supporters' Shield by one point over Real Salt Lake. Upon the completion of the regular season the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs culminated on November 21 with a 2–1 victory by the Colorado Rapids over FC Dallas at Toronto's BMO Field. It was the first time the MLS Cup final was played outside the United States.
The expiration of and failure to sign a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players' union threatened the season. Negotiations resulted in a new contract being agreed to on March 20, 2010.
Changes from 2009 
- The players' union and league passed a new collective bargaining agreement that adjusted the players' contracts.
- The Philadelphia Union joined the league as its 16th club and is playing in the Eastern Conference. Their first two home games of the season – against D.C. United April 10 and FC Dallas on May 15 – were played at Lincoln Financial Field while their permanent home, PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, opened with a game against Seattle Sounders FC on June 27.
- A natural grass field replaces the FieldTurf surface at Toronto FC's BMO Field.
- The New York Red Bulls began play in their new stadium Red Bull Arena, defeating the Chicago Fire in the first MLS match played there on March 27 by the score of 1–0.
- Adidas is providing their Jabulani match ball with MLS colors of blue and green for the season, as well as new referee kits – the same ones that were used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- New Designated Player Rules were agreed upon early in the season:
- Teams can sign two Designated Players, up from one under the previous rules, and pay a "luxury tax" of $250,000 for the right to sign a third Designated Player. The $250,000 would be distributed evenly to all MLS teams that have not signed a third Designated Player in the form of allocation money.
- Each Designated Player counts as $335,000 for the salary cap, down from $415,000 under the previous agreement, and only counts as half that amount if the player is signed during the middle of the season. Teams can use allocation money to reduce the salary cap value of a Designated Player.
- Teams are no longer allowed to trade for additional Designated Player spots, so the New York Red Bulls will receive $70,000 of allocation money in exchange for effectively nullifying their earlier trade with Chivas USA for a second Designated Player spot.
- Teams who have a Designated Player transfer out of the country during the MLS season will recoup a portion of the money spent on the Designated Player.
- Landon Donovan is no longer grandfathered into the agreement, and must be counted as a Designated Player.
- Unlike the previous Designated Player agreement, which was set to expire after three seasons, this agreement has no set expiration date.
- The new Designated Player rule resulted in an explosion of DP signings in 2010, with the league boasting 13 Designated Players at the conclusion of the regular season (Omar Bravo signed with Kansas City in the summer of 2010 but remained with his previous club Guadalajara for the remainder of the season).
Managerial Changes 
|Team||Outgoing coach||Manner of departure||Date of vacancy||Table||Incoming coach||Date of appointment||Table|
||Piotr Nowak||May 29, 2009||Pre-season|
|New York Red Bulls||Richie Williams||Caretaker||August 21, 2009||7th East ('09)||Hans Backe||January 7, 2010||Pre-season|
|Toronto FC||Chris Cummins||Contract expiration||October 27, 2009||5th East ('09)||Preki||November 18, 2009||Pre-season|
|D.C. United||Tom Soehn||Resigned||November 3, 2009||4th East ('09)||Curt Onalfo||December 28, 2009||Pre-season|
|Chivas USA||Preki||Mutual consent||November 12, 2009||4th West ('09)||Martin Vasquez||December 2, 2009||Pre-season|
|Chicago Fire||Denis Hamlett||Fired||November 24, 2009||2nd East ('09)||Carlos de los Cobos||January 11, 2010||Pre-season|
|D.C. United||Curt Onalfo||Fired||August 4, 2010||8th East||Ben Olsen||August 4, 2010||8th East|
|Toronto FC||Preki||Fired||September 14, 2010||3rd East||Nick Dasovic||September 14, 2010||3rd East|
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players and Managers may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Collective Bargaining Agreement 
After two extensions to facilitate additional talks, the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players' union expired February 25, 2010. The league had said that it would not lockout the players. The union had voted in favor of a strike if a new deal was not reached before the beginning of the season. Players were seeking free-agent rights and more guaranteed contracts from the league. On March 20, 2010, MLS and the Players' Union agreed on a new, 5-year collective bargaining agreement that allowed the season to start on time.
Competition format 
The format for the 2010 season will be as follows:
- The season began on March 25 and will end on November 21 with MLS Cup 2010.
- The 16 teams were split evenly into two conferences. The Eastern Conference has eight teams with the addition of the Philadelphia Union, and the Western Conference also has eight teams. For the first time in league history, the season will have a balanced schedule where each team will play every other team in the league once at home and once away for a total of 30 games.
- Games were not played during the group stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The last MLS game prior to the World Cup was played on June 10, with no games scheduled until after the group stage concluded on June 25.
- The two teams in each conference with the most points will qualify for the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs. In addition, the next four highest ranked teams, regardless of conference, will also qualify. Teams will be bracketed by conference, with the lowest ranked teams crossing over to the other conference if necessary. In the Conference Semifinals, aggregate goals over two matches will determine the winners. The Conference Finals will be played as single matches, and the winners will advance to MLS Cup 2010. After the completion of any round, ties will be broken with two 15-minute periods of extra time, followed by a penalty kick shootout if necessary. The away goals rule will not be used in any round.
- The team with the most points in the regular season wins the MLS Supporters' Shield and will qualify directly into the Group Stage of the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League. The MLS Cup Winner also qualifies for the Champions League Group Stage. The MLS Cup Runners-Up and the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Winners qualify for the Preliminary Round of the Champions League. If a team qualifies for multiple berths into the Champions League, then additional berths will be awarded to the highest-placed team(s) in the 2010 MLS regular season's overall standings that have not already qualified.
- The four teams with the most points, regardless of conference, who have not qualified for the Champions League will qualify for the SuperLiga 2011.
- The six U.S.-based teams with the most points, regardless of conference, will qualify for the Third round of the 2011 U.S. Open Cup. The remaining U.S.-based MLS teams will have to qualify for the remaining two berths via a series of play-in games.
- As a Canadian-based team, Toronto FC cannot qualify for the Champions League through MLS, and cannot enter the U.S. Open Cup. In either case, any berth in the Champions League or U.S. Open Cup that it would have earned by its league position is awarded to the highest-placed team in the overall standings which has not already qualified. TFC may instead qualify for the Champions League through the Canadian Championship.
- Head-to-Head (Points-per-match average)
- Overall Goal Differential
- Overall Total Goals Scored
- Tiebreakers 1–3 applied only to matches on the road
- Tiebreakers 1–3 applied only to matches at home
- Fewest team disciplinary points in the League Fair Play table
- Coin toss
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.
|Chicago Fire||Chivas USA||Colorado Rapids||Columbus Crew|
|Toyota Park||The Home Depot Center||Dick's Sporting Goods Park||Crew Stadium|
|Capacity: 20,000||Capacity: 27,000||Capacity: 19,680||Capacity: 20,455|
|D.C. United||FC Dallas||Kansas City Wizards||Houston Dynamo|
|RFK Memorial Stadium||Pizza Hut Park||CommunityAmerica Ballpark||BBVA Compass Stadium|
|Capacity: 45,596||Capacity: 21,193||Capacity: 10,385||Capacity: 22,000|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||New England Revolution||Philadelphia Union||New York Red Bulls|
|The Home Depot Center||Gillette Stadium||PPL Park||Red Bull Arena|
|Capacity: 27,000||Capacity: 22,385||Capacity: 18,500||Capacity: 25,189|
|Real Salt Lake||San Jose Earthquakes||Seattle Sounders FC||Toronto FC|
|Rio Tinto Stadium||Buck Shaw Stadium||Qwest Field||BMO Field|
|Capacity: 20,008||Capacity: 10,300||Capacity: 35,700||Capacity: 21,800|
Results table 
|Home \ Away||CHI||CHV||COL||CLB||DCU||FCD||HOU||KCW||LAG||NER||NY||PHI||RSL||SJE||SEA||TOR|
|Kansas City Wizards||2–2||0–1||1–0||0–1||4–0||1–3||4–3||0–0||4–1||0–3||2–0||1–1||4–1||1–2||1–0|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||2–3||2–0||1–3||3–1||2–1||2–1||4–1||0–2||1–0||0–2||3–1||2–1||2–2||3–1||0–0|
|New England Revolution||0–1||0–4||1–2||2–2||1–0||1–1||1–0||1–0||2–0||3–2||1–2||1–2||0–0||3–1||4–1|
|New York Red Bulls||1–0||1–0||3–1||1–3||0–0||2–1||2–1||1–0||0–1||2–0||2–1||0–0||2–0||0–1||1–0|
|Real Salt Lake||1–0||1–1||1–1||2–0||3–0||2–0||3–1||4–1||1–0||5–0||0–0||3–0||0–0||3–1||2–1|
|San Jose Earthquakes||0–3||3–0||1–0||2–2||1–1||0–0||0–1||1–0||1–0||2–0||4–0||1–0||0–3||0–1||1–3|
|Seattle Sounders FC||2–1||2–1||1–1||1–1||2–3||1–1||2–0||1–0||0–4||3–0||0–1||2–0||0–0||0–1||3–2|
Conference standings 
|1||New York Red Bulls||51||30||15||9||6||38||29||+9|
|3||Kansas City Wizards||39||30||11||13||6||36||35||+1|
|6||New England Revolution||32||30||9||16||5||32||50||−18|
|2010 MLS Cup Playoffs|
|1||Los Angeles Galaxy||59||30||18||7||5||44||26||+18|
|2||Real Salt Lake||56||30||15||4||11||45||20||+25|
|4||Seattle Sounders FC||48||30||14||10||6||39||35||+4|
|6||San Jose Earthquakes||46||30||13||10||7||34||33||+1|
|2010 MLS Cup Playoffs|
Overall standings 
Major League Soccer
|1||Los Angeles Galaxy2 (W1)||59||30||18||7||5||44||26||+18|
|2||Real Salt Lake3 (W2)||56||30||15||4||11||45||20||+25|
|3||New York Red Bulls3 (E1)||51||30||15||9||6||38||29||+9|
|5||Columbus Crew3 (E2)||50||30||14||8||8||40||34||+6|
|6||Seattle Sounders FC2||48||30||14||10||6||39||35||+4|
|8||San Jose Earthquakes3||46||30||13||10||7||34||33||+1|
|9||Kansas City Wizards||39||30||11||13||6||36||35||+1|
|13||New England Revolution||32||30||9||16||5||32||50||−18|
|MLS Supporters' Shield, 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs, 2011 U.S. Open Cup, 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League2|
|2010 MLS Cup Playoffs, 2011 U.S. Open Cup|
|2010 MLS Cup Playoffs|
- ^Note 1 - Toronto FC cannot qualify for the U.S. Open Cup, as it is a Canadian-based team. If they qualify for an automatic berth into the U.S. Open Cup, the next highest placed team not already qualified will be given a berth. Similarly, they cannot qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League through MLS. Rather, they can qualify through the Canadian Soccer Championship. If they qualify for the Champions League through MLS, then the highest placed team not already qualified will qualify.
- ^Note 2 - The winner of the 2010 MLS Supporters' Shield (Los Angeles Galaxy) and the winner of MLS Cup 2010 (Colorado Rapids) qualified for the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage. The runner-up of MLS Cup 2010 (FC Dallas) and the winner of the 2010 U.S. Open Cup (Seattle Sounders) qualified for the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round.
- ^Note 3 - 2011 SuperLiga berths are awarded to the top 4 finishing teams from MLS who do not qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.
|Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||MLS Cup 2010|
|E1||New York Red Bulls||1||1|
|E4||San Jose Earthquakes||0||3|
|E4||San Jose Earthquakes||0|
|E3||Colorado Rapids (5–4, PSO)||1||1|
|W1||Los Angeles Galaxy||1||2|
|W1||Los Angeles Galaxy||0|
|W2||Real Salt Lake||1||1|
Statistical leaders 
- Full article: MLS Golden Boot
Statistics current as of October 24, 2010
Top scorers (Golden Boot) 
Most assists (Silver Boot) 
Top goalkeepers 
|1||Kevin Hartman||FC Dallas||0.62||0.789||20||1755||12||10–1–8||9|
|2||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake||0.67||0.78||27||2430||18||15–4–8||14|
|3||Donovan Ricketts||Los Angeles Galaxy||0.90||0.76||29||2610||26||18–7–4||11|
|4||Bouna Coundoul||New York Red Bulls||1.04||0.784||27||2430||28||14–8–5||11|
|5||Jon Busch||San Jose Earthquakes||1.06||0.779||18||1620||19||7–6–5||7|
|6||Matt Pickens||Colorado Rapids||1.12||0.773||29||2610||32||11–8–10||7|
|7||William Hesmer||Columbus Crew||1.1||0.689||30||2695||33||14–8–8||11|
|8||Kasey Keller||Seattle Sounders FC||1.15||0.689||30||2655||34||14–10–5||11|
Individual awards 
Monthly awards 
|Month||MLS Player of the Month||MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month|
|April||Edson Buddle||Los Angeles Galaxy||7G 4–0–1||Sanna Nyassi||Seattle Sounders FC||April Humanitarian|
|May||Álvaro Saborío||Real Salt Lake||4G 3A 5–0–0||Chris Tierney||New England Revolution||May Humanitarian|
|June||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake||0G Allowed 1–0–2||Craig Waibel||Houston Dynamo||June Humanitarian|
|July||Fredy Montero||Seattle Sounders FC||2G 3A 3–1–1||Jed Zayner||Columbus Crew||July Humanitarian|
|August||Kevin Hartman||FC Dallas||2G Allowed 2–0–2||Michael Lahoud||Chivas USA||August Humanitarian|
|September||Omar Cummings||Colorado Rapids||6G 1A 3–1–1||Kei Kamara||Kansas City Wizards||September Humanitarian|
|October||Chris Wondolowski||San Jose Earthquakes||6G 2–2–1||James Riley||Seattle Sounders FC||October Humanitarian|
Weekly awards 
Related Competitions 
International competitions 
CONCACAF Champions League 
Seattle Sounders FC became the first team to qualify for the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League by winning the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Columbus Crew qualified next by winning the 2009 MLS Supporters' Shield. The Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake also qualified by being the two 2009 MLS Cup finalists, while Toronto FC took the Canadian berth by virtue of their Canadian Championship win. Los Angeles, Seattle, and Toronto entered the competition in the preliminary round, while RSL and Columbus were seeded directly into the group stage.
Seattle and Toronto won their preliminary round ties, beating Isidro Metapán of El Salvador and Motagua of Honduras, respectively. Los Angeles crashed out of the preliminary round after losing their home match 4–1 to the Puerto Rico Islanders of the USSF D-2 Pro League and failing to make up the deficit in the away leg.
The group stage was held August 17 – Oct 21. Real Salt Lake won Group A with 13 points over Cruz Azul, Toronto, and Arabe Unido of Panama. Toronto finished in 3rd place with 8 points. Columbus finished 2nd in Group B behind Club Santos Laguna but ahead of C.S.D. Municipal of Guatemala and Joe Public F.C. of Trinidad. Seattle finished 4th in Group C with 3 points behind C.F. Monterrey, C.D. Saprissa of Costa Rica, and C.D. Marathón of Honduras.
On November 1, the draw for the Championship round was held. Real Salt Lake will face Columbus in the quarterfinal in February/March 2011, immediately prior to the 2011 MLS Regular Season.
As was the case for the 2009 SuperLiga, the top four overall finishers in MLS in 2009 that hadn't already qualified for the Champions League qualified for SuperLiga. This year's competition was contested by the Houston Dynamo, the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, and the New England Revolution from MLS. The four Mexican teams were Pachuca, Morelia, Puebla, and UNAM.
New England, Houston, Morelia and Puebla advanced from their groups, with the Revolution beating Puebla on penalties in one semifinal, and Morelia defeating Houston in the other. Morelia defeated New England 2–1 in the final at Gillette Stadium on September 1.
Domestic competitions 
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 
The top six overall teams from the 2009 MLS season (Columbus, Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, and Chivas USA) received automatic berths into the Third round of the 2010 U.S. Open Cup, while the eight remaining U.S.-based MLS teams and the expansion Philadelphia Union competed in a single-elimination qualification tournament to determine the MLS's final two official entrants into the competition. Teams were seeded one through nine, with the seventh-place MLS team from 2009 earning the first seed (and would play the winner of the eight v. nine play-in game), while each following team would receive its respective seed. The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United earned the final two MLS spots in the Third round.
For the first time since 2006, the semifinals were contested exclusively by MLS teams, with Seattle beating Chivas USA and Columbus defeating DC United. The final was played October 5 at Qwest Field in Seattle with the defending cup holders, the Sounders, defeating the Crew 2–1. The Sounders became the first MLS team ever to successfully defend the U.S. Open Cup, and the first team from any league to do so since New York Pancyprian-Freedoms in 1983.
Canadian championship 
Toronto FC, as a Canadian-based MLS team, is not eligible to compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and instead contested the Canadian Championship with the two Canadian-based teams in the Division-2 Pro League, Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact. Toronto FC won the tournament, claiming the Voyageurs Cup and Canada's entry into the Preliminary Round of the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League.
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