The LA Galaxy crashed out of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, missing both Jonathan dos Santos and Chicharito by the end of the winless three-game run, to remain winless in 2020.
So the Galaxy came home, apparently did not test positive for coronavirus in the Orlando bubble, and have been training to stay fresh in the meantime.
We can wonder how they’ll perform when the games return, whether they’ll get their act together under Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and if the season can be salvaged, but first, it’s worth wondering what the plan is to get back in action.
MLS and the Galaxy brass have spoken vaguely of plans to resume the regular season at home venues, and likely behind closed doors, after the MLS is Back Tournament ends. With the competition currently in the quarterfinal stage and the final scheduled for Aug. 11, all the teams will be back in their home markets in the next two weeks, and in theory, the next phase of the season can get underway.
Here’s the reports circulating around recently:
- The Athletic reported a week ago that the league is proposing an 18-game regular season slate starting Aug. 22
BREAKING: Reporting w/ @samstejskal: MLS has a tentative plan to resume play following #MLSisBack.— Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter) July 24, 2020
- Restart on Aug. 22nd
- 18 regular season games
- 9 teams from each conference qualify for playoffs, which begin on Nov. 20th
- MLS Cup on Dec. 12thhttps://t.co/AURiiCH787
- Nashville-based reporter Ben Wright reported Thursday that the two teams that had coronavirus outbreaks and didn’t participate in the MLS is Back Tournament, FC Dallas and Nashville SC, will play each other in makeup games starting next week.
So in a vacuum, this all sounds fine, after all nearly all of the sports are back. There are sports happening left, right and center!
However, early indications are the bubble format may be a better option for mitigating coronavirus risk than playing in home markets. Aside from the rocky start for MLS with Dallas and Nashville dropping out, and the Orlando Pride staying home from the NWSL’s bubble tournament in Utah because of a team outbreak, bubble situations have been remarkably safe after the acclimation period ends and people stop going in and out all the time.
In contrast, the same cannot be said for home market situations in multiple sports. Major League Baseball has had to postpone games because of positive coronavirus tests, and the same goes for the USL Championship. This hits close to home because 11 players on LA Galaxy II have tested positive for coronavirus this week. Many wonder if those players have been in contact with Galaxy first-team players, and while the club has said no MLS players have tested positive so far, it’s a good question.
I think in general with the decision to bring sports back, we all wondered how many positive cases would be too many. What’s the worst-case scenario? What’s the point of no return?
That still appears not to have been answered, and with the coronavirus pandemic not tapering off, but rather getting worse throughout the United States, I think the projection that life would be much improved at this point has turned out to be very wrong.
At the same time, the lure of money is too great, frankly. Sports remarkably came together and all decided to stop playing, and now that they’re back in action, they’re going to try and white knuckle it out.
It’s not an easy decision, admittedly. The precarious nature of the economy means most of us can’t live on unlimited wealth reserves indefinitely. I need sports to keep my job in the long run, obviously.
But you know, there’s a pandemic going on. Even with teams flying charter, to play games behind closed doors, there’s still risk of exposure on travels and dragging the coronavirus around. There’s a risk of ambitious plans about schedules falling apart when a team, and then another, and then another have coronavirus outbreaks.
My gut feeling says MLS will resume play for all teams in August. But I don’t think it’s a guarantee, nor should it necessarily be. I’d much rather the league took a breath, spent another week contemplating the options if they need to, then come up with the most reasonable plan.
And so, we wait. We wait for the pandemic to end, for life to return to normal, and in some capacity, for the Galaxy to return to action.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.