April will have no MLS matches. Now we know officially that May will have no MLS matches either.
Major League Soccer announced Friday morning that the suspension of regular season games has been extended to June 8, as expected, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league also stated they are looking into other formats for the season, including pushing MLS Cup back to December or later. The full statement reads:
MLS remains focused on exploring a wide variety of formats for playing the entire 2020 season including pushing back MLS Cup into December or later. Based on the most recent government guidance, we have extended the moratorium on matches until at least June 8. Like all leagues, we are in discussion with our players about changes to player compensation due to the financial impact on the league and our clubs from the COVID-19 Crisis. We are seeking to work collaboratively with the MLSPA to find a solution that provides a safety net for all players, opportunity to earn full salary in the scenario where all matches are played with fans, and in particular provides protection for the players at the lower end of the salary scale.”
With the date officially extended into June, 13 Black & Gold matches have been postponed since the Crew’s 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders on March 7. The Black & Gold’s May slate of away trips to the New England Revolution, Orlando City and the Philadelphia Union have been postponed along with a May 27 home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
As of the current schedule, the next game set to take place on its regularly scheduled date will be the June 13 home match against the Chicago Fire. Whether that match takes place before or after the make-up games has yet to be determined.
The league is also in deep discussion with the Players Association regarding significant wage cuts to players. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Noah Davis reported that the league is asking players to take a 50 percent wage cut if they have to outright cancel games, according to sources. Other factors to percentage decrease include the number of regular season games played and if games are played behind closed-doors.
In terms of the “wide varieties of formats,” we don’t know yet the details of the possible formats for 2020 season. We could see the announcement of those possible formats in the coming weeks as the season will officially be suspended for nearly three months once June 8 comes.
Coronavirus’ effect on worldwide soccer and sports is unprecedented. The European Championships, Copa America and the Olympics have been canceled for this year and most of the major European leagues don’t have a set date of return. Some are eyeing late May but others have yet to announce a date or time period.
As of this writing, the United States is creeping up towards 700,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with an estimated 3.4 million people tested. Over 33,000 have died and 56,000 have recovered, with 389 of those deaths in the state of Ohio. Ohio has 8,414 confirmed cases as of Thursday, April 16 with 1,212 in Franklin County.
Massive Report will provide further updates on this story as they become available.