By Ben Wright, editor.
NASHVILLE, TN - Day 57 since the 2020 Major League Soccer season was suspended. What a weird time to be alive....
Anyway, here are some relevant pieces of news from around the league.
MLS Players Return To Club Facilities For Individual Workouts
This week was the first time players could return to their training facilities, as part of MLS's voluntary player workouts. All clubs are still limited by local health guidelines, and must follow a strict set of health and distancing protocols.
Atlanta United, Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami, LAFC, Nashville SC, Orlando City, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, and Sporting KC players all conducted private workouts at club facilities this week, the first time players have stepped on those fields since the season was suspended.
MLS Still Hopes To Play Full Schedule
Despite the delay (nearing two months and certain to last longer), Major League Soccer is still hopeful of playing out the full 34 match schedule.
Later on in the thread, Tom Bogert (an MLS must-follow) includes that Eales admits there's a point at which it's no longer possible to play a full schedule, but the league is still in the window where a full season is possible. According to Eales, the plan to play a full schedule is contingent on testing becoming widely available. According to him, the league feels this is close to happening.
Glimpse Into Format For Resuming Play
Steven Goff (another MLS must-follow) tweeted Thursday that MLS is considering Orlando as a neutral base to stage games, with players quarantined and tested regularly.
According to Goff, the setup at ESPN's Wide World Of Sports complex and the multiple fields allow for a lot of scheduling flexibility, as well as more behind-the-scenes content. Goff notes that 3-4 weeks of full training would be needed before teams are match ready again, and Nashville's Mike Jacobs and Dax McCarty echoed this timetable on a media conference call.
It remains to be seen if this plan is put into practice, as well as how long neutral venues would be required. Still, it's small step towards the return of soccer to our TV screens, a very welcome and needed distraction at this point.
FIFA Allows Five Substitutions For Remainder Of 2020
Soccer's governing body has tweaked the substitution rule in response to the delayed season.
With schedules set to be much more congested when play resumes, this change will give managers flexibility to rotate their squads and try to limit player fatigue. While only a temporary change, it's a change that will have really interesting tactical implications for the rest of the year.
Nashville SC To Re-Air MLS Debut On Saturday
In celebration of their newly announced partnership with FOX 17 and affiliates, Nashville SC and FOX 17 will re-air their debut match against Atlanta United this Saturday at 1PM central.
In addition to the on-air broadcast, Nashville will stream plenty of second-screen content on their socials, with player interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more. Worth checking out for Nashville SC fans.
Cover photo courtesy Nashville SC