Since the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic, life, as we know it, has paused for several months now. But as time passes and the world adjusts to this new reality, the fact is that we have to live with it and learn to coexist.
Sporting events have quietly started to resume with many prominent Soccer Leagues like the Bundesliga, La Liga, and the Premier League having restarted and ended successfully. Here in the USA, the NWSL is another example.
As for the MLS, there has been a major attempt to resume normal service in US Soccer with the “MLS is Back” tournament over the last few weeks.
With the changing times, there was an innovation in the normal format of the MLS as it changed to a 24 team World Cup like tournament.
There were six groups with the top two sides going straight through and the remaining four in the Round of 16 being made up of teams that finished third with the highest number of points. The rest of the tournament goes on like your traditional World Cup knockout games.
This tournament started off on the 8th of July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando Florida in a so-called “bubble” where all the teams could train and stay in one isolated bubble quarantined from the outside world.
Unfortunately, there were major problems with several players testing positive for COVID-19. Consequently, two of the teams ( Nashville SC and FC Dallas) had to be removed from the tournament. Besides this unfortunate event, there was no other case in the three weeks inside the bubble for the players involved.
As the “MLS is back” tournament culminates on the 11th of August, the winner will gain automatic access to the CONCACAF Champions League, and the trophy and prize money to go with it.
When will the Normal MLS season restart?
As this unprecedented format concludes, the MLS gets back on track on the 21st of August and continues throughout the fall with the playoffs in November and the MLS Cup in December.
The season will be preceded with a game between Nashville SC and FC Dallas between Aug 12-15, two teams who had to opt-out due to multiple cases of COVID in their rosters as they try to get back to match fitness before the start of next season.
According to the Washington Post, there is hope that there will be spectators involved, especially in areas where the impact of COVID has subsided.