MLS targets May 10 return, considers extending into December

The Associated Press
A crew works on a banner featuring Seattle Sounders MLS soccer players outside of CenturyLink Field, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Seattle. In efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced a ban on large public gatherings in three counties in the metro Seattle area. That decision impacts the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders, and the XFL's Seattle Dragons home games. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
A crew works on a banner featuring Seattle Sounders MLS soccer players outside of CenturyLink Field, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Seattle. In efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced a ban on large public gatherings in three counties in the metro Seattle area. That decision impacts the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders, and the XFL's Seattle Dragons home games. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Soccer is targeting a May 10 return to play and will consider pushing back its championship game by a month into December.

After announcing a 30-day suspension last week because of the new coronavirus, the league said Thursday it will follow last weekend's recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to not hold events involving more than 50 people for eight weeks.

''MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season,'' the league said in a statement.

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The MLS championship game had been scheduled for Nov 7.

On its website, the league announced the May 10 target for a return date.

Teams have played two matches in their 34-game, regular-season league schedule. Inter Miami, the expansion team co-owned by former England captain David Beckham, had been preparing for its home opener at its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

MLS held its championship in December from 2012-18, then cut the length of its playoffs last year by changing the earlier rounds to knockouts from a two-leg format.

Last year's title game was Nov. 10.

The United Soccer League said Wednesday the suspension of the second-tier USL Championship and third-tier League One has been extended through May 10.

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