During the MLS All Star Game, MLS executive vice president of player relations and competition Todd Durbin said that the league is looking to move away from the reserve league model. The goal is to have every MLS team with an affiliate or a standalone team in USL-Pro by 2015. The LA Galaxy are looking to get involved with USL-Pro starting next year, according to manager Bruce Arena.
Bruce Arena: @LAGalaxy will field its own USL Pro team next year.— Scott French (@ScottJFrench) September 11, 2013
Despite best of intentions in bringing back the reserve league, the schedule can appear almost random at times. It has allowed for expanded rosters, but those players can go weeks without getting legitimate competition and fielding a full eighteen often means using a handful of academy players.
A USL Pro team would give LA more places to put signed players (under 2012 rules, USL-Pro rosters can have a maximum of 26 players including seven foreign players. USL-Pro teams play 24 games, way more than the reserve league currently plays.
A separate pro team does mean a separate group of headaches including travel costs and the like. The team could play at the Track and Field stadium at night, allowing those who typically can't attend reserve matches during the day the opportunity to see the up and coming prospects.
The move of having teams field b-sides in lower divisions mirrors what is done in Spain and Germany. The Cascadia clubs have U-23 teams in USL-Development league, but those teams serve a different purpose.
Currently there are four MLS teams with USL-Pro partnerships, which paid off for Orlando City and the Richmond Kickers. That number was expected to jump to 10 next year according to Durbin, though it's not clear if that included teams like LA looking to field full teams.
More on this announcement as information becomes available.