MLS hopes to play a full 34-game schedule

Atlanta United President Darren Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums.

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The president of Atlanta United said Major League Soccer hopes to still play a full 34-game schedule.

The president of Atlanta United said Major League Soccer hopes to still play a full 34-game schedule.

Ted S. Warren/AP

Atlanta United President Darren Eales says Major League Soccer still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus.

Eales says MLS is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame.

MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted March 12 because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of May 10, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back.

Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums.

“We’re fortunate that we had just started our season,” he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. “We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs.”

MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November — around the time MLS had been planning its title game.

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