One day after announcing that matches would be suspended for a further eight weeks due to the spread of the new Coronavirus, MLS stated on Friday that training across the league would be banned for at least the next seven days.
In a statement, MLS said its “training moratorium” would be extended through the end of March 27, with all players and staff encouraged to practice social distancing and remain in their team’s markets. “At this time, team training facilities may only be accessed for physical therapy purposes at the direction of club medical staff to ensure adherence to safety protocols,” the statement added.
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Though it seems like months ago, it was only on March 12 when MLS announced a 30-day suspension of the season, just two weeks into the 2020 campaign. Training was stopped across the U.S. and Canada at that point, and was since extended to today, and now to March 27. In both cases, the match suspension and training ban, MLS has stated it is in contact and taking cues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. On March 16, the CDC adjusted its guidelines, advising against groups of 50 people or more in one area for at least the next eight weeks.
If somehow, MLS is able to return to action in eight weeks, that would bring us to the week of May 11. By then, most teams would have already played around 11 games and be well into the heart of the season. Instead, teams will need to conduct a second preseason to get back into full fitness, and then somehow play more matches in a condensed season to finish the entire campaign. If MLS teams in theory could return to training by the end of March, they could seemingly be in good enough shape to go again by May 11.
But the way this virus has continued to spread across the country, it seems optimistic at best.