It sounds like no options are off the table in terms of MLS restarting its season, and recent reports indicate the return to soccer could be based in a single locale.
Orlando sounds like a frontrunner for the location for MLS to arrive en masse, according to Steven Goff of The Washington Post on Twitter on Thursday.
MLS weighing several options for returning to competition, including all teams in Orlando or splitting between two cities, multiple people tell me. Timetable ~ June/July, with everyone tested and quarantined. At some point, teams would return to home markets for matches.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) May 8, 2020
Restarting in June or July with all of the teams potentially in one spot, if able to be done safely in this era of coronavirus, certainly sounds better than nothing.
Between Goff’s report and similar reports from Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio, who reported Dallas and Kansas City were in contention for being the temporary home base for the league, it sounds like consolidating teams in a city or two is getting serious consideration.
There are two threads that connects those three cities as presumptive frontrunners: All three cities either had no stay at home orders or they’ve been substantially lifted recently, and all three cities have massive complexes of fields to train on as well as MLS and football stadiums in market.
With a handful of MLS teams returning to training this week, through voluntary individual sessions on outdoor fields under very constrained circumstances, it seems like we’re making progress and can really start figuring out what the restart will look like. However, one issue is giving all teams a chance to train — the San Jose Earthquakes have not yet been cleared to train, although one team in California, LAFC, did get the green light this week, so presumably other teams may be allowed to get into action soon.
At the same time, starting back up at a single site like Orlando will require trust on the part of everyone to behave responsibly, and also probably some luck to make sure there isn’t a coronavirus outbreak in the course of the experiment. If there is, what would happen? How long would players have to be away from home? Can their families come with them? How many games would they play before returning to their home markets?
Needless to say there are a lot of questions left to iron out here, but with there being plenty of fields and hotel rooms in Orlando if they’re going to try a biodome scenario it makes some sense. Will the Quakes be headed to Disney World to restart the MLS season? Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted on updates as we hear them.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.