Major League Soccer games will be postponed for 30 days due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl was the first to report this news, tweeting “MLS is suspending its season immediately until further notice due to coronavirus, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Sports Illustrated.”
The MLS made the announcement shortly after Wahl’s report that the season will be suspended for 30 days.
Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to asses the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.
At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plan for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.
Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season - based on the advice and guidance from the Center 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. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.
This report means that all MLS games will not take place for the next month. Columbus Crew SC will have at least four games postponed. Three home matches against Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC and Orlando City and an away game against Nashville SC fall in this timeframe.
Steven Goff of the Washington Post suggested that MLS will work on rescheduling the postponed matches for the fall, meaning MLS will likely end around the late-November, early-December period. The league changed its schedule to end the season earlier, but as of two years ago, the MLS Cup Final was played in early December.
As of this writing, their are more than 1,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States with five in the state of Ohio.
Major League Soccer’s decision comes shortly after the suspension and cancellation decisions that have been made across North American sports in the past 24 hours. The Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes were the first MLS teams to make decisions to postpone home matches. These teams announced the postponement of their March 21st home matches on Wednesday.
U.S. Soccer just announced that they will call off upcoming friendly matches for the men’s and women’s national teams. The USMNT was set to go to Europe in early-April and the USWNT was supposed to play two friendlies in Utah and San Jose at the same time.
As of this writing, the NBA has suspended its season, the NHL has told teams to not hold morning skates, team meetings or practices, and the NCAA will limit spectators from attending any men’s or women’s tournament games for March Madness.
News has also broke last night about athletes in North America testing positive for the Coronavirus. Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are the first two to test positive in North American sports. In the world of soccer, two Italian players in Italy’s Serie A have tested positive, Manolo Gabbiadini of Sampdoria and Daniele Rugani of Juventus.
MLS also follows European leagues that have suspended play in the last 48 hours. La Liga announced they will not play for two weeks after a Real Madrid basketball player tested positive for coronavirus. Serie A is still suspended till April 3 with Italy’s cases up to more than 12,000 people.
Massive Report will provide more updates on this story as they become available.