Toronto FC and the rest of MLS will reportedly not return to action until the second week of June at the earliest, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Toronto FC‘s quest to play in a fourth MLS Cup final in five seasons will have to wait a while longer. The earliest they can now expect to return to action is June.
The update came via Jeff Carlisle of ESPN. Carlisle reported that MLS is planning to postpone matches at least through June 8, due to the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While this news will be a disappointment for everyone connected with MLS, it is also a necessary decision. There is still too much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
This much is evident when considering the league’s decision back in March, to suspend play for eight weeks. We already knew there was going to be a further delay earlier this week, after mlssoccer.com reported it was extremely unlikely MLS would resume playing in mid-May.
At the time of the original decision to suspend play, TFC had gotten their league campaign off to a strong start. They drew 2-2 with the San Jose Earthquakes in their season opener — which they really should have won — and beat New York City FC 1-0 in their first home match.
Whenever MLS does finally return to action, it will be interesting to discover what the layout will look like. As reported by Carlisle, commissioner Don Garber said on Monday:
"“From tournament formats and neutral locations, ultimately playing an abridged regular season, but doing everything to get as many games (as possible).”"
Of course, while Garber and the league will have any number of possibilities to approach re-starting the season, they are at the mercy of COVID-19. Until the pandemic is controlled, MLS will have to continually readjust their plans based on the timelines (which could even eventually include cancelling the 2020 season altogether).
One of the main things that gives TFC an edge over opponents, is the passion of their fans at BMO Field. However, whenever we do have matches again, it is almost certain they will initially be played without any supporters in attendance.
First things first though, the most important thing — purely from a sporting perspective — is for there to actually be matches again. However, while we are still no closer to finding out when this is likely, MLS should be commended for their latest decision, as everyone focuses on remaining safe and healthy.
What is your take on the decision by MLS to suspend the season until at least the second week of June? How soon do you realistically expect/predict Toronto FC will be playing again? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.