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BREAKING: MLS season suspended for 30 days due to coronavirus

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

This post has been updated after publication.

Major League Soccer suspended the 2020 season for 30 days due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the league announced on Thursday morning.

SI’s Grant Wahl was first with the news.

The Union issued a mid-afternoon statement:

The Philadelphia Union is in full support of Major League Soccer’s decision to suspend match play for 30 days as the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 is assessed. The safety and well-being of our players, coaches, staff, and fans is of utmost importance.

The league and its clubs are continuing to monitor the situation and will communicate information as it is made available. Fans can contact Philadelphia Union’s fan services department with any questions.

MLS follows the lead of the National Basketball Association, which suspended its season indefinitely last night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

The USL Championship followed suit, suspending its season for a “minimum” of 30 days. Major League Baseball and the National Hockey league have announced similar measures this afternoon.

The Union were set to play the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday in the first home game of the season. The thirty-day suspension covers the Union’s matches against San Jose, D.C. United, Portland, Miami, and Montreal. The league did not announce whether those matches would be made up at a later date. Obviously, the situation is fluid.

PSP encourages all readers to take all reasonable precautions in order to slow the spread of coronavirus in our communities.


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Total bummer. But the right move. Guess we wait.

    • Yup. It’s definitely the smart thing to do.

    • Exactly. I was really looking forward to the Union home opener, but this is the right call.

    • I agree it’s the right move. Hell who even knows if there will be airlines left to make flights possible after this virus runs it’s course. If you thought the bank bailouts were costly, the airlines will be magnitudes worse.

  2. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    So much for momentum from the last game.
    It’s kind of weird to me that Miami will now have to delay their home opener.

  3. USLC has also suspended for at least 30 days.
    Concacaf Champions League has, too, as has USSF for friendlies and qualifiers.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Breaking news: My wife created the virus in order to avoid having to sit in the cold Saturday night. (Still not sure how she slipped in a trip to China without my noticing.)

    • She gave it to my wife who gave it to friends who were traveling to China, Korea and Japan.
      Only trouble with this theory is that our friends didn’t go to the Wuhan try-cities area.

  5. USS Development Academy has suspended play until April 30.
    So far nothing about US Open Cup competitions.

  6. In the meantime, 3 Leicester City players tested positive and the PL hasn’t announced suspension. Just give Liverpool the title and call it early. It’s nuts to keep going, really.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Crappy way for Liverpool to win it… even though it is inevitable with the lead and season they have. Just something Liverpool haters will always hang over them. But it is what it is.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I dislike Liverpool, but anyone who doesn’t give them full credit is ridiculous. They were by far the best team in the league this year.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        If they do suspend the season then it is good that Liverpool lost so we won’t have to wonder about “what if?”.

  7. Sir, does this mean that Ann-Margaret is not coming?

  8. this sucks. Finally get some love from the premier league recognizing Philly and now this BS. Seriously, if in 2-3 weeks nothing significant happens and we’re saying, “wow, that wasn’t as bad as I thought” heads should roll.
    On a positive note at least Kai should be back along with Brendan, and Mark. Also, the pitch should be in great shape for the rest of the year.

    • Why would we fire people if things don’t get bad? That sounds like ‘job well done’ to me. There’s really no way to know how it would turn out if they took another course of action. Right now they are giving their best recommendation with the info they have. I hope we are saying “that wasn’t as bad as I thought”- whether they were right, just got lucky, or that’s the way it would have been no matter what we did.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      They’ve rescheduled it for the fall… the Premiere League thing from Philly on NBCSN that is. I had a reservation and got an email about it tonight

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      The interesting correlation I heard was when Y2K happened (don’t know your age, so that may be an outdated reference). Anyway, there was major consternation for years leading up to the turn of the century and then at midnight that night nothing happened. Lay people all thought the whole thing was a hoax, while people whose job it was to make sure nothing happened basically spent a couple years and billions of lines of computer code making sure that was the outcome.

      It seemed like much ado about nothing, but in the end was actually an enormous effort for preventing so that “nothing” would happen.

  9. As a healthcare provider I think people are missing the reason for this. It’s not about preventing spread but slowing it down to the point that we don’t overwhelm medical resources. We just don’t have capacity to take care of a lot of critically ill people at any one time.

    Put it into perspective.

  10. Andy Muenz says:

    Noticed that on the MLS website there is a link to an article that says if you have tickets to a game that is rescheduled it will be honored when the game is played. So it sounds like they are hoping to make up the games that are being missed. Maybe extend the season and/or more midweek games?

  11. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    I’m curious as to how you make the call to restart the season. Obviously it probably can’t just restart 30 days from now could it? Players will need some kind of training time to get back in game shape. I would think teams will go completely dormant as it makes no sense to gather in groups now, does it? Are we going to see a decline in the virus in just two or three weeks and restart the season? How many games can they miss before either the season is shortened or cancelled altogether? How much time will be needed before they restart the season to get game shape conditioning? Is that another 1-2 weeks?
    The crazy thought is do they change the schedule and realign more with Liga MX The longer this carries on? Is it possible that the whole season could be scrapped if this drags on till late May or early June? Really are in some uncharted waters that’s for sure.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I’m wondering if the teams will continue to do some non contact training. One the one hand, it would significantly reduce the number of people they are coming into contact with. On the other, it would mean that the non US players would have a reason to stay here…which is probably something we want so they don’t risk not being able to get back into the country when the league does resume.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Maybe they could increase the number of midweek games to make up for lost time. Just an idea, but what if they increase the maximum number that can be signed to first teams and limit the amount of games players are allowed to start and appear in? Again, an amateur thought. Curious what everyone else thinks.

      • So if MLS isn’t playing games, technically, do players with green cards have jobs? Will they get deported because they aren’t working?
        The virus has to reach a saturation level at some point. The number of people that contact the virus and survive to a point where they are not contagious has to be so great that it almost becomes an insulator to others. It will be at that point where it should be safe to resume. That means a lot of sickness and death. I’m going to assume we might get a truncated “half season” if we are lucky.

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