MLS coronavirus shutdown ‘unlikely’ to end by mid-May; league says full season might not be possible

Major League Soccer’s 2020 season has no return date as of yet as the United States continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the league released a statement updating its situation and plans for 2020 stating that the initial target of mid-May isn’t going to happen. 

The United States has more confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country in the world, with many states issuing some form of a stay-at-home order. The league is adamant that it will follow all federal and local guidelines before making a decision to return to play.

Here’s the statement from MLS:

Major League Soccer continues to regularly evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how it will affect our plans for the 2020 season. Although we hoped to return to play in mid-May, that is extremely unlikely based on the guidance of federal and local public health authorities. Our goal remains to play as many games as possible, and while we currently have enough dates to play the entire season, we recognize at this time that it may become difficult to do so.  We continue to learn more every day from the medical experts, and we expect to have additional details in the coming weeks regarding when we can return to play. As we have throughout this process, we will update our fans with every decision, and we thank them for their support and understanding during this extremely challenging time.  

This comes as MLS commissioner Don Garber told ESPN that the league is exploring alternative formats to complete the season, while also stating that games will almost surely be played without fans.

“From tournament formats and neutral locations, ultimately playing an abridged regular season, but doing everything to get as many games,” Garber said. 

The 2020 season is a big one for MLS as the league celebrates its 25th season. The league has continued to grow by investing in young talent from South America, Europe and all over, while also bringing in big names like Javier Hernandez to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Each MLS team has played two games so far this season, with Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United, Colorado Rapids and Atalanta United winning both. 

With league play being delayed, there is a chance we potentially see MLS Cup 2020 pushed back into December, but that all depends on how things proceed with the containment of the virus and when play is declared safe to resume. 

For more updates on the coronavirus’ impact on the sports world, click here.

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