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Sporting Kansas City moving to Western Conference

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(Insert Wicked Witch of the West joke here)

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that has been heavily speculated ever since the announcements of Orlando City and New York City FC, Sporting Kansas City are moving to the Western Conference for the 2015 season.

Major League Soccer announced the move West, as well as the Houston Dynamo moving to the Western Conference, in a release today that revealed Chivas USA ceasing operations for the 2015 season. The year will feature 20 teams in the league, ten in each conference. It will be the first time the conferences are balanced since 2011.

Orlando City and New York City FC will obviously join the Eastern Conference. With Atlanta scheduled to come in to the league in 2017 and the rebranded Chivas team also returning in 2017, Sporting are likely to stay in the Western Conference for the foreseeable future for the sake of balance.

This move allows Sporting KC to form new rivalries with Real Salt Lake as well as preserving the current one with the Houston Dynamo. The scheduling will not change with each team playing 34 games a season. Clubs will play each team in the opposing conference once a season, half at home and half away. They will play the conference opponents at least twice, once at home and once away, plus six more conference games, three home and three away.

Below are the 2015 Conference assignments.

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Chicago Fire
Columbus Crew
D.C. United
Montreal Impact
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Orlando City SC
Philadelphia Union
Toronto FC
Colorado Rapids
FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo
Sporting Kansas City
LA Galaxy
Portland Timbers
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC