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Major League Soccer adjusts league-wide suspension to 8 weeks, eyeing May 10 return

By Sean Walker, | Posted - Mar. 19, 2020 at 9:49 a.m.

SANDY — Major League Soccer will not be returning to pitches around the country until at least May.

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to limit gatherings of 50 or more people, MLS has adjusted its previous 30-day suspension to eight weeks, the league announced in a statement Thursday morning.

“MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season,” the statement read. “The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout the process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.”

The USL Championship, the second division which consists of several developmental clubs like Real Monarchs SLC in Herriman, issued a similar statement Wednesday in shifting its season suspension through Sunday, May 10. That target date also fits into Major League Soccer’s timeline.

In addition to previously postponed matches against Columbus, New England, Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver, Real Salt Lake would conceivably be forced to postpone or adjust its schedule regarding home matches against Colorado on April, Seattle on April 25, Inter Miami on April 29 and Portland on May 9; as well as road matches at LAFC (April 18) and Atlanta United (May 3).

That would target RSL’s return at a May 13 road match against Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field, at the earliest. No official match postponements have been announced by Real Salt Lake beyond the original 30-day window.

Major League Soccer is also under a team training moratorium that will last until at least Friday. Players have been advised to exercise social distancing measures in their individual workouts, as well.

The National Women’s Soccer League, a nine-team league of top female American and international players, has yet to formally postpone its season — but new commissioner Lisa Baird issued a statement last week canceling all preseason matches. That includes two Utah Royals FC preseason dates against USC and the University of Utah.

The Royals are currently scheduled to open the season April 18 at Portland (8:30 p.m. MT, CBS All Access).

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