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MLS ‘extremely unlikely’ to return in mid-May, discussing start date and scheduling

The league is exploring the possibility of a shortened season with the likelihood of a later return.

New York City FC v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Don’t worry everyone, soccer is going to return. Just not as soon as we all hoped.

One month since Major League Soccer halted play due to the coronavirus, it looks like the delay will be longer than originally expected. MLS made a statement Tuesday morning, updating fans on when they can expect the 2020 season to resume and what it could look like.

“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 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.”

We know for sure we won’t be getting soccer back by May 10, the last date the league set for a possible return. After this statement, it seems the start date will be pushed back sometime between late-May or mid-June.

With the likelihood of an early summer return, it also seems like a full season is unlikely. Of course, all of this could change but these are early assumptions for what the 2020 season could be.

Columbus Crew SC’s next game not crossed-out by a “postponed” line is a May 16 encounter against the New England Revolution. With the start date likely later, we could see the delay of every other May encounter, which include road trips to Orlando City SC and the Philadelphia Union and a home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Black & Gold continues to re-broadcast classic matches while play is suspended. The next telecast will be Wednesday afternoon with a website stream of the Crew’s penalty shootout victory over D.C. United in the 2018 MLS Cup playoff East Knockout Round.

The rest of the sports world is doing the same as well as evaluating the future plans with their 2020 seasons. The MLB has dabbled in the idea of playing in May with spring training division alignment. The NBA wants to have the Finals end by Labor Day weekend while soccer leagues in Europe are still unsure of what to do with multiple countries in the middle of their coronavirus surge.

As of this writing, there are over 580,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States with more than 23,000 deaths and 44,000 recoveries. In Ohio, there are nearly 7,000 cases as of Monday with 274 deaths. A little over 1,000 of those cases are in Franklin County.

Massive Report will provide further updates on this story when they are available. Stay safe and soon, we can return to cheering on the Black & Gold!