MLS revealed the next phase of the 2020 season schedule on Saturday, but Toronto FC are still waiting for details of their next set of games.
There was an intriguing development on Saturday, as MLS revealed the schedule for the next phase of the 2020 regular season. However, this did not include a slate of games for Toronto FC.
As confirmed by Mlssoccer.com, the revised schedule will see each team play an additional 18 regular season games, to bring them to 23 in total. FC Dallas and Nashville FC will both play 21 games, after being withdrawn from the MLS tournament in Orlando due to their high respective number of positive COVID-19 tests.
As part of the announcement for the next phase of the 2020 regular season, MLS unveiled six-game schedules for each of the 23 American clubs. However, the upcoming schedule has still not been confirmed for TFC and their fellow Canadian clubs, the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps.
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The reason for this delay is due to the current travel restrictions between Canada and the United States. At this stage it is not clear when the travel restrictions will be lifted.
MLS did add that more details on the schedules for the three Canadian teams will be announced in the near future. TFC confirmed the same via their Twitter account.
As per Brady Reid of Waking the Red, one of the reported ideas to deal with the issue is to have the Canadian teams play three games against each other. This would mean six games per team, and keep them at the same pace of the rest of MLS through Sep. 14.
Certainly this would make sense, but it would still only represent a short-term solution to the ongoing issue of dealing with COVID-19. While this is just an opinion, the chances are the travel restrictions between Canada and the United States will not be lifted by the end of the next phase of games.
In this respect, you can imagine a scenario where TFC and their fellow Canadian clubs would be relocated temporarily to the United States to complete their respective schedules. One issue with this would be that the regular season is set to conclude on Nov. 8, meaning essentially at least two more months away from home.
Regardless of what happens, head coach Greg Vanney and Toronto FC are firmly focused on challenging for a fourth MLS Cup final appearance in five seasons. In this respect, as much as the MLS is Back tournament didn’t go quite as planned, there were still positives to take away from the experience.
TFC remained unbeaten in league play on the season, as a result of winning one and drawing two of their three group stage games in Orlando. They are one of just four MLS clubs who remain unbeaten, and they find themselves in second place in the Eastern Conference ahead of the next phase of the 2020 regular season schedule.
The Reds also appeared to find their long-term replacement for Jozy Altidore, in the form of Ayo Akinola. The Homegrown Player notched a hat-trick against the Impact in Orlando and his five league goals this season are second-best in MLS. (Just one behind Diego Rossi of LAFC.)
Overall, Toronto FC seem primed to once again make a genuine challenge for a playoff spot and as they proved last season, anything can happen when you get to the knockout stage. First things first though, they need to find out who they are set to face for the remainder of the regular season, along with where the games will take place.