MLS: What, Again? Who's Playing? Whose Watching?
The MLS is Back Tournament is beginning to look more like the MLS' Last Club Standing Wins the Tournament.
That said side, we are dealing with a serious situation and empty stadiums notwithstanding is it worth for MLS or any of the sports to return yet to play?
Unfortunately its money involved -- a lot of it, and people's livelihoods -- understood -- but also their lives and that of their families.
Meanwhile, here's MLS' most recent press announcement:
Major League Soccer announced today an updated format and schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament and that Nashville SC have been withdrawn from the competition.
Since arriving in Orlando, nine players on Nashville have had confirmed positive test results for COVID-19. The decision was made in the best interest of the health of all players and staff participating in the tournament, and in line with protocols created in conjunction with local and national health authorities and infectious disease experts.
â€śWe have withdrawn Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament. Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches,â€ť said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. â€śFor every decision we make in our return to play, the wellbeing of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority.â€ť
As a result of the withdrawal of Dallas and Nashville, MLS has reconfigured the groups into six groups, each consisting of four teams, as well as an update to the qualification for the Knockout Stage presented by Audi.
Chicago Fire FC have moved from Group A to Group B in the MLS is Back Tournament to join San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Chicago and Nashville will remain in the Eastern Conference for the rest of the 2020 regular season.
The new match schedule for Chicago Fire FC in Group B is as follows:
July 14 Chicago Fire FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
July 19 Chicago Fire FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8:00 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)
July 23 Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
Additionally, the schedule for one other Group B match has been updated:
July 19 Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)
The revised Group A schedule has been created to replace those Group A matches which previously included Nashville SC and Chicago Fire FC:
July 14 Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
July 14 New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC, 8:00 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
July 20 Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 8:00 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
July 20 Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
All matches of the MLS is Back Tournament will be will be televised nationally in the U.S. across ESPN, FOX Sports, and Univisionâ€™s UniMĂˇs and TUDN networks; in Canada on TSN and TVA Sports networks, as well as globally through the leagueâ€™s international broadcast partners. All matches not aired by an English-language network will be streamed live in English on Twitter.
After 16 consecutive days of group stage matches, the top two teams from each group along with the four best third-place finishers will move on to the knockout stage, which begins July 25.