Major League Soccer intends to resume its regular season when teams play in their own markets shortly after its MLS is Back final Tuesday in Orlando
In some cases, that will include a limited number of spectators where local health regulations allow.
In a halftime interview Wednesday with FS1 during its first semifinal, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the league will announce a schedule that gets teams from under the tournament’s protective “bubble” and home to their own stadiums and training facilities.
That’s expected to come Friday. Minnesota United officials declined to comment Thursday.
“We will get back to our markets,” Garber said. “We’re going to be able to play with fans where we can and not play with fans in most of our markets.”
The Loons haven’t played a game at Allianz Field in a 2020 season interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its March 15 home opener was postponed when the season was suspended three days earlier. Its regular season could resume the weekend of Aug. 21-23.
A socially distanced and masked audience of 1,489 fans attended the St. Paul Saints baseball game at 8,000-plus capacity CHS Field for the first time this season Tuesday.
Major League Baseball teams are playing games in their home markets outside a bubble — without fans and with some postponements after testing revealed viral outbreaks. MLS, NBA, NHL and WNBA have tested and quarantined players, coaches, staff and officials under such a bubble while games goes on.
Garber said the league will finish a regular season, hold playoffs and have an MLS Cup played before year’s end.
Garber said league officials “learned a lot” under the bubble about conducting games in a pandemic.
“We learned about testing,” he said. “We learned about the incredible commitment of players wearing masks and socially distancing and taking real responsibility for keeping themselves safe. And that really will give us the sense of what we need to do to finish the season.”
Reynoso deal closer
Argentinian media reports Thursday indicated Minnesota United is finalizing its long quest to acquire Boca Juniors attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso. A Buenos Aires radio station said the club will receive signed paperwork to complete what it called the Loons’ $5.2 million transfer fee after the player himself pushed for the transaction.
The Loons neared a deal to acquire him in February. On Monday, coach Adrian Heath said a deal was “getting closer” and added his team needed to reach a deal in the next couple weeks or it’d have to look elsewhere for another player at that position. The next MLS transfer window begins Wednesday.
Metanire, Molino out of the 11
Hassani Dotson started at right back for injured Romain Metanire for the second consecutive game Thursday. Jacori Hayes did the same for veteran midfielder Kevin Molino, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, as is Metanire.
Metanire and Molino were designated as substitutes available to come off the bench.
Luis Amarilla started his fourth game back at striker after he walked off the field because of a groin injury in warmups of the team’s tournament opener. He scored in Saturday’s 4-1 quarterfinal victory over San Jose.
Amarilla said Monday he didn’t quite feel 100% yet.
“I know I haven’t played quite as well,” he said in Spanish on a video call. “Sometimes the chances were there, sometimes they weren’t. Those were also really difficult games against really strong teams. This last game I felt a little bit more confident, especially after getting that goal. I feel stronger and more confident going into the rest of this tournament.”
• The start of Thursday’s game was delayed 65 minutes by thunderstorms and lightning that rumbled across central Florida. Both teams remained in their nearby resort hotels while players waited for the weather to clear.
• Loons veteran midfielder Ethan Finlay turned 30 and Dotson turned 23 on Thursday.
The Star Tribune will not be traveling to Florida for MLS, NBA and WNBA coverage. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the game.