Despite many reports stating that the Supporters’ Shield would not be awarded to an MLS club in 2020 due to COVID-19’s impact on the season, the decision has been reversed by the Foundation.
The top regular season point earners will receive the Supporters’ Shield by its fans and will also likely be included in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League, the Foundation announced Friday. Toronto FC currently sits atop the table for the Shield with 41 points, with the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew right behind them.
— Supporters' Shield Foundation (@SupporterShield) October 23, 2020
“After consulting with all of the MLS ISC representatives, we, the Supporters’ Shield Foundation board, will be reversing our initial decision and awarding the Supporters’ Shield for the 2020 season,” the group said in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday. “You asked to be heard. In the end it was your input and the votes that showed us this is the right choice.”
The MLS season was shortened earlier this year due to the pandemic, with the final day of the regular season slated for Nov. 8th. After a four-month hiatus earlier this season, the MLS is Back Tournament was constructed for Orlando, Florida, which saw the Portland Timbers claim the trophy and clinch a berth in the 2021 CCL Tournament.
Several markets have begun hosting fans in a limited capacity, but no stadiums have been packed to the brim as of yet. Since mid-September, 10 MLS games have been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests with the Colorado Rapids being the club most impacted during that period.
With matches coming thick and fast for every MLS club, changes could still be made to the start of the Cup Playoffs should more matches become postponed. Nov. 20th is the projected start date for the Playoffs while Dec. 12th will be the MLS Cup Final between the Eastern and Western Conference winners.
LAFC claimed the 2019 Supporters’ Shield while D.C. United and the L.A. Galaxy are tied for the most Shields with four apiece.