Details are beginning to emerge regarding plans to restart the MLS season in Orlando, and it sounds like perhaps some good and some bad for Los Angeles Football Club.
First, the good: LAFC is a proposed top seed in group play in a restart tournament, as the defending Supporters’ Shield winner, according to a report in The Athletic on Thursday. That means they would avoid the Seattle Sounders, who would be seeded in another group during group-stage play, said to be five games, with groups being comprised of in-conference opponents. After that, the top two teams in each group would enter an eight-team knockout tournament.
Now, the not-so-good: Carlos Vela is a high-profile player said in the same report to not be happy about the plan, which includes quarantining away from family in Orlando for two months or longer. The reason is not hard to surmise: Vela’s wife is pregnant with their second child, and they have a young child already who also needs to be cared for.
That concern strikes at the heart of the idea of restarting sports at all. While people are bored and financial considerations are driving efforts to reopen life during the coronavirus pandemic, including sports, effectively forces players to choose whether they leave their families for months or sit out the rest of the season. And since we aren’t in normal times where a player could call in friends or relatives to come and live with his family while he’s gone playing sports, the conundrum is real.
I want sports to come back but I want it done safely and I realize sometimes you can’t actually do both. Reportedly, the players haven’t signed off on the proposal and have around 100(!) questions about the specifics and parameters, so there’s still some real red tape to get through on all of this.
Another, much more minor, detail about the plan is that games may be scheduled to be played at 6 am PT, 5 pm PT and 7:30 pm PT, per a separate report in The Athletic on Thursday. Obviously the later two games would be fine for a West Coast audience, but the first game would be a killer for us out west. I doubt LAFC would play those games, but you never know.
So, if I had to guess, I think MLS soccer will be played this summer, but I think there’s a good chance some players will get permission to sit out a tournament altogether and I think Vela is a candidate for that. This is all speculation at this point, but we’ll keep you posted on developments regarding the return of MLS.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.