New CBA agreement saves Major League Soccer in 2020 and beyond

Carlos Vela of Los Angeles FC
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Ricky Dimon

Soccer · 2 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Hallelujah, sports are returning!

UFC action has been underway for a while. Golf is turning the page from exhibition mode to the real thing starting next week. The NBA is officially back, all systems will soon be a go for European soccer, and now Major League Soccer is ready to join the party.

The league and the MLS Players Association on Thursday agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that runs through the 2025 season. Yes, that means the 2020 campaign—which has been suspended since March—will continue.

“MLS Players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through the 2025 season,” the MLSPA announced. “Today’s vote also finalizes a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead. It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love.”

Orlando tournament

What will the 2020 continuation entail?

It will begin with a tournament at Disney’s Wild World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.—where the NBA is going to play out the rest of its season from July 31 through early October. All 26 MLS teams are expected to touch down in Orlando in three weeks. They will have two weeks of training before the tournament begins likely in the second week of July. All clubs are expected to play three group-stage matches that will not only count for knockout round seeding but also be factored into the MLS regular-season standings.

“Bear with us for a bit while we continue to finalize all the details of the Orlando project,” league commissioner Don Garber cautioned, “so that we can announce it all in its entirety. I apologize for not being able to give you more details.”

Proceedings in Orlando are expected to last five weeks, and it has not yet been confirmed how the season will continue after that. Some reports indicate that every club will nine home matches (with or without fans in the stadiums), and nine away matches before the playoffs.

Who are the favorites?

The season’s resumption has to be considered especially good news for Los Angeles FC, which now has a chance to avenge last year’s shortcoming in the playoffs. LAFC was a considerable title favorite after racking up by far the most points during the regular season, but it lost to the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference Finals. Seattle went on to lift the MLS Cup, beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the final.

LAFC, which is 1-0-1 through three matches in 2020, is a +330 favorite to capture the title. Atlanta United, the 2018 champion, is a +600 second choice. Next in line is Seattle (+700) and Toronto (+1000). Atlanta is 2-0-0 so far, but star forward Josef Martinez suffered a torn ACL in the opener and is unlikely to return even if playoff dates get moved back.

If you can’t wait until July for some soccer action, head over to our soccer section to get soccer expert picks on all major European leagues, including the Bundesliga, EPL, and La Liga.

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