Major League Soccer Hoping for June Return With 26-Team Tournament
- Orlando, Florida, home of Orlando City SC, is the latest city to put forward a bid to aid the return of the MLS this June.
- The MLS’s return wouldn’t be comprised of a full-season, but a 26-team tournament.
- The location proposed is Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
The MLS has reportedly sent its 26 franchises a proposal to end its season suspension due to coronavirus shutdown by holding training and a tournament at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports complex. The proposal suggests that players, coaches, and associated staff would report to the Orlando-based complex to begin training on June 1st.
Considering teams will need proper time for a training camp, the MLS tournament – to be held without fans – would be set to begin only three or four weeks afterward.
The tournament format would essentially be an extended version of the MLS’s current playoff format. The main reason for the tournament would not be to make up for lost games, but to limit the time that teams would be isolated at a neutral site, while still maintaining stakes to the shortened season.
Where Did the MLS Leave Off?
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 30, 2019
The MLS was one of the last major sports leagues to begin its season before the Coronavirus pandemic came into effect. Just two-game weeks after the MLS kicked off, they were forced to postpone due to global health concerns regarding COVID-19.
With so few games between each team, there is little to take away from the standings that they left off from. The top of four in each conference looked like this:
|1||Atlanta United FC||6||2||2-0-0||1-0-0||1-0-0|
|3||New York Red Bulls||4||2||1-0-1||1-0-0||0-0-1|
|1||Sporting Kansas City||6||2||2-0-0||1-0-0||1-0-0|
|2||Minnesota United FC||6||2||2-0-0||0-0-0||2-0-0|
Orlando City SC Manager Is Positive
While opinions on restarting the season within the MLS have been quiet until it can be set in stone, Orlando City SC manager Oscar Pareja has endorsed the efforts by MLS officials to bring the season back. Pareja said in a video conference:
This community is ready to do it, and Orlando is the perfect city to hold an event like that. Based on the experience, the infrastructure, everything. Orlando has everything to hold it. So if the leage decides so… I think it will be a great deision to bring it here.
Pareja has been optimistic in the MLS’s ability to bring the MLS season back. As players have come back to training, with limited interaction and access, Pareja has been wholly positive on the steps the MLS has taken.
MLS Hoping to Take the First Step
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the sports world hard, but the MLS wants to be the first major sports league in the United States to return to play. There have been sports leagues around the world that have slowly resumed play, notably the Bundesliga and the UFC, but none of note within the United States.
With projections of a June return to training for the MLS and a July kick-off to their 26-team tournament, the United States and Canada may be getting their soccer fix back soon.
When did the MLS halt play due to the coronavirus pandemic?
The MLS suspended their play on March 19, 2020. By that point, only two matches had been played by each team in the league.
Which is the best team in the MLS?
The reigning MLS Champions are Seattle Sounders, won their second MLS Cup in four years when they defeated Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Final in 2019. Other teams that have been consistently successful are Toronto FC, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Atlanta United FC.
How can I bet on the MLS?
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