April 14, 2020 / 5:05 PM / 2 months ago

MLS: Mid-May return 'extremely unlikely'

FILE PHOTO: Mar 7, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) looks on against New York City FC at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

More than a month after play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, MLS acknowledged Tuesday that its hopes to resume the season by mid-May are “extremely unlikely.”

“Major League Soccer continues to regularly evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how it will affect our plans for the 2020 season,” the league said in a statement. “Although we hoped to return to play in mid-May, that is extremely unlikely based on the guidance of federal and local public health authorities.

“Our goal remains to play as many games as possible, and while we currently have enough dates to play the entire season, we recognize at this time that it may become difficult to do so. We continue to learn more every day from the medical experts, and we expect to have additional details in the coming weeks regarding when we can return to play.”

MLS play stopped play on March 12, two weeks into the 34-game regular season. The league’s moratorium on training runs through April 24, but it is expected to be extended.

Commissioner Don Garber told ESPN on Monday that the league would look at alternative formats while trying to play “as many games as possible” if play resumes. He added that he does not expect to have games with fans in attendance.

“We might be playing further into the winter,” Garber said. “That’s even hard to imagine because we had a zero Celsius MLS Cup in Toronto in mid-December in 2017, but we’re going to have to push this season as far as we can so that we can crown a champion in 2020.”

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