Major League Soccer is finalizing plans to resume the regular season following the conclusion of the MLS is Back Tournament, according to a report from The Athletic‘s Jeff Rueter and Sam Stejskal. Per their story, MLS will play a regular season of 18 matches (nine home, nine away) starting on August 22, with MLS Cup set to take place on December 12.
This report confirms what Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith told local media yesterday.
“The picture that had been created for me was a home and away schedule that would possibly see us play nine home games and nine away games,” he said. “The start date for that was not set in stone, but was going to be around the middle of August if not the third week in August if possible.”
Although Nashville CEO Ian Ayre had previously said Nashville would not make up the games they missed in the tournament group stage, The Athletic reports that Nashville and Dallas (who were also withdrawn from the tournament due to several positive Covid-19 tests) would play three matches against each other, in addition to the 18 match regular season.
A big question is whether or not the Canadian teams (Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps) will be able to play home matches. The Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball were recently denied permission by the Canadian government to play games at home, even without fans in attendance. It’s quite possible that the teams will have to relocate to the States for some portion of the regular season.
Nashville SC played two matches before the season was suspended due to Covid-19. They looked set to return for the MLS is Back Tournament, but were withdrawn after nine players tested positive for the coronavirus. They will not have played a match for nearly five and a half months by the time the regular season resumes.
We will continue to update this story as it develops.