30-day suspension of MLS leaves the league in limbo as it looks for an appropriate response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Major League Soccer has suspended their season, according to a press release this morning.
The league, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary season, will “temporarily suspend” all matches for the next 30 days as it assesses the growing reach of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The suspension takes place immediately, and for good reason. The LA Galaxy were scheduled to fly on Thursday afternoon to Miami on a charter flight — a flight that was initially supposed to be on a commercial carrier but was changed via a league mandate on Wednesday afternoon due to coronavirus concerns.
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials, and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in the league’s press release. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
The suspension of the season comes less than 12 hours since the NBA suspended its season after one player on the Utah Jazz was found to have the coronavirus. That number has jumped to two Jazz players in subsequent testing, with many others who have come in contact with the player still being assessed.
The entire sporting world has been dealing with this problem. Games have been canceled in Italy, Spain, and across the globe. US Soccer has just canceled games for both the Men’s and Women’s Senior Teams in March and April, while CONCACAF has suspended the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League with immediate effect. The lower divisions of soccer are also suspending their play for 30 days with the USL Championship making a similar announcement.
And coming on the morning announcement of the NHL temporarily suspending their league, that leaves just Major League Baseball to ponder it’s looming season openers.
The Galaxy will need to reschedule games with Inter Miami (March 14), Orlando City (March 22), Sporting Kansas City (April 4), and Minnesota United (April 11). That’s two home games (Orlando and SKC), and two away games (Miami and Minnesota). However, some teams are releasing information that says the April 11th weekend may still be in play. The Galaxy didn’t have that information immediately available in such a fluid situation.
The league, at this time, is still planning on playing a 34-game season. Although, any planning will need to remain flexible as the duration of the suspension could be shorter or longer depending on the severity of the outbreak in the United States and the continued restrictions on mass gatherings of people.
The Galaxy, in a separate press release, have acknowledged that “All LA Galaxy tickets will be honored should the matches be played on a postponed date.”
Galaxy home games had already been thrown into question, late on Wednesday night, when Governor Gavin Newsom released recommendations to restrict crowds of 250 or more from gathering together – a number that is significantly less than the 25,174 seats that are available at Dignity Health Sports Park.
And those restrictions in California have now postponed all LA Galaxy II, LA Galaxy Academy, and Dignity Health Sports Park events and activities.
This is uncharted territory for MLS, the Galaxy, and sports throughout the country. There is no roadmap on how this should or could play out. So expect plans to be fluid for a while.
This is a developing story, and updates will be made accordingly.
- Updated the story with information from Galaxy press release about tickets and about suspending events with the academy, and the LA Galaxy II.
- Updated information about April 11th and the likelihood it will be in play to restart the season.
- Updated with the NHL suspending the season