If you were hoping for the return of professional soccer soon, we have some bad news for you. Columbus Crew SC and Major League Soccer play will not return now for eight weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league made this announcement on Thursday, a full week after MLS suspended play initially:
“In accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks, Major League Soccer has extended the postponement of its matches during this period of time. MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season. The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout the process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.”
This update means the earliest the league will return is May 10. In addition to the three originally postponed games — last Saturday at home against Real Salt Lake, at Nashville SC on March 21 and at home against Toronto FC on April 4 — five more Crew games will hopefully be moved to a later date. These games include April 11 at home against Orlando City SC, at the Chicago Fire on 19, against the Philadelphia Union Minnesota United at home on April 25 and 29, at the New York Red Bulls on May 2 and against the Montreal Impact at MAPFRE Stadium on May 9. At the end of this, assuming the league returns then, it will be two months before we can see the Black & Gold take the field once again.
MLS joins MLB as the first two North American sports leagues to follow the CDC recommendation and further suspend their seasons another four-to-six weeks. The NBA seems likely to be suspended play until at least June with multiple players testing positive for coronavirus in the last week. The NHL has yet to make an announcement about further suspending the season.
As of this writing, the United States has over 9,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 150 deaths and 106 recoveries. The state of Ohio has nearly 90 confirmed cases with over 20 hospitalizations across the state. No MLS players have tested positive for coronavirus.
Massive Report will provide further updates when they become available. We will also continue providing Crew content during the hiatus of play.