This is just beginning to make the rounds, and does appear "new". The number "30" is somewhat new in terms of pinning down the exact number of spots MLS teams will have next season, but word that rosters will expand is not. A few weeks back, Greg Vanney, now tasked with running Real Salt Lake's groundbreaking residential academy in Arizona, told L.E. Eisenmenger as much in a few more words than Hyndman used.
Vanney, from Eisenmenger's story:
My understanding is that there’s a proposal on the table beyond the competition committee, I think it’s in front of the owners. It’s for 2011. They would start up the reserve league again and the rosters would expand a little bit. I’m not 100% on the inside, but from what I’m understanding is a lot of that roster expansion, as well as the homegrown players, is going towards developing players, younger players.
Vanney goes on to talk about how these expanded rosters will be important to the return of the reserve league, and suggest as many as 5-7 spots might be for academy products (currently rosters are 24 with 2 spots for homegrown players). More roster spots means more reserves, which will help teams field lineups for those games that don't include last minute stand-ins from the PR department. The reserve league returning only makes sense if it's taken seriously, and that is exceedingly more likely when more guys need games.
If that 5-7 number from Vanney is correct though, the roster expansion is much more about the development and integration of young homegrown talent than it is about reinforcing clubs for the larger schedule or additional competitions. Without a accompanying bump in the salary cap, expanded rosters won't do anything but spread the money further, with little benefit to quality. I expect a salary cap bump is still coming, but if the bulk of the roster spots will be filled by young (i.e., cheap) players, it won't be anything like an expansion to 30-man roster would seem to indicate with a superficial glance.
Hyndman painted the expansion of the rosters as a positive step much needed with the heavier league schedule on tap for next season. Though the league office has yet to comment on roster rules for next year, it's difficult to imagine that they could add four more matches while not breaking for the Gold Cup without giving teams a chance to obtain greater depth.
Still, this news, unconfirmed as it is, is only a small portion the story. The breakout of the roster between homegrown and non-homegrown players, as well as the number of international slots, and combined with whatever salary cap bump is in store, will have a large impact on just how much an expanded roster will benefit MLS teams.