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MLS to resume regular season this month, some markets to have fans

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The league starts planning its return next week

Rain Storm in New York City Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

With the Mickey Mouse COVID Cup MLS is Back Tournament winding down, the time has come for Major League Soccer to start plotting out its next move — resuming the regular season. Yesterday, Steven Goff of the Washington Post published a story with the league’s plans to move forward. And it’s sure to be controversial.

Current plans for MLS play to resume would include every team playing in their own markets as opposed to in a centralized location, a similar model to what the MLB is doing right now. The season would start with Nashville SC and FC Dallas — two teams that contracted COVID-19 (coronavirus) and were unable to play in the MLSIB Tournament — playing each other twice between August 12-15, with the first full weekend of games to be played around August 21. MLS is slated to release the full season schedule in the coming days.

One of the more controversial aspects of MLS’s current plans is that the league is attempting to allow select markets being allowed to host some fans in attendance, an idea that has received some pushback from pundits due to it being in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic. LEague commissioner Don Garber said, “We are going to be able to play with fans where we can and not play with fans in most of our markets.”

Another source of controversy pertains to Canada-based clubs (Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, and the Vancouver Whitecaps) participating due to current travel restrictions. The league’s way around this is reportedly having the three trade matchups until said restrictions are relaxed.

According to Goff, “the league is aiming to schedule additional stages of the regular season in blocks of six through the fall for a total of 18 matches per team, then organized the playoffs in November and December.”

We’ll have more on this developing story as the details become available.