The 2020 MLS regular season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the league is reportedly looking to kick off next season at roughly the same time.
Deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said Friday that the league is aiming to start the 2021 campaign in early March, ESPN reported. It would be a similar start time for the league compared to recent seasons, but could be changed should the pandemic continue into the new year.
“Based on the crowded international calendar next year, we are targeting to start our season in early March as usual,” Abbott said. “The restrictions on our ability to have fans in our stadiums this year contributed to very significant financial losses. Like all leagues, we are concerned about those restrictions continuing for a second year and are continually evaluating how to manage through the impact of the pandemic in 2021.”
The 2020 MLS season kicked off in late February before being postponed for four months due to the pandemic. After seeing a successful MLS is Back Tournament take place in Orlando, Florida, the league has since resumed regular season play and is now preparing for the MLS Cup Playoffs, which will begin Nov. 20th with the Eastern Conference play-in round.
Most clubs have continued to play in home markets, with limited or no fans, while Canadian clubs Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, and Vancouver Whitecaps hosted matches in the United States due to Canada’s travel regulations due to the pandemic.
2021 will be a busy year for MLS clubs and its players with the postponed Tokyo Olympics, postponed Concacaf Nations League, and Concacaf Gold Cup just three of several international competitions set to take place.
In addition, the European Championship was also moved due to the pandemic and is set to kick off next summer in Europe.