With no David Beckham or the buzz of a team expansion, the 2013 Major League Soccer season that begins this weekend might seem ho-hum because of its stability.
But this year begins a new chapter, focused on developing the quality of play and continuing to raise the profile of a league that officials hope will become among the planet's elite within 10 years.
''There is no reason that in time Major League Soccer can't be competitive with the world's best,'' MLS commissioner Don Garber said. ''It's going to take a lot of hard work and continued investment.''
The season begins Saturday with Philadelphia hosting Kansas City. That'll be followed by a Canadian showdown with Vancouver hosting Toronto, Houston vs. DC United, FC Dallas vs. Colorado, Chivas USA vs. Columbus and Seattle vs. Montreal. Sunday, defending champion Los Angeles hosts Chicago, Portland welcomes New York and San Jose faces Real Salt Lake.
New England has a bye the first week of the season, while Seattle, Los Angele...