Especially at the professional level (MLS), are referees looking to see the players have some type of shinguard on their legs, but nothing more? 

As you are well aware of, Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment states:

-provide a reasonable degree of protection

Two examples of almost no protection would be Colorado’s and former USA International Pablo Mastroeni and Chivas USA’s Blair Gavin (I’m sure there are more).

Again, at what level of play does it not become necessary to provide a reasonable degree of protection? Or is it necessary, even at the professional level, but not always enforced by the referee? Do FIFA referees enforce this law or let it go as trifling and simply make sure everyone has some type of shinguard? 

USSF answer (May 6, 2010):

In general, the decision on the “reasonable degree of protection” is made using The Seven Magic Words, “If, in the opinion of the referee.” Referees must remember that at the professional level, the players and trainers must take responsibility. What is sufficient protection to one, may not be to another.

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