MLS Extends Small Group Training Moratorium Through June 1
MLS late Thursday night extended its small group and team training moratorium through June 1. Players on May 6 were first able to participate in voluntary individual workouts on teams' training grounds in states where it is permissible based on local health and safety guidelines. That remains intact. Training facilities will also remain closed unless a player has a need for treatment or rehabilitation (Mark J. Burns, THE DAILY).
QUESTIONS REMAIN ON ORLANDO: In L.A., Kevin Baxter reports the broad contours of the MLS proposal that brings teams to Orlando "has more questions than answers ... beginning with the expected start date of June 1, a target now considered overly ambitious." There also are "disagreements as to how many people will be permitted inside the strictly guarded quarantine bubble, how many times a week they would be tested, where those tests would come from and what would happen if someone tested positive." One anonymous Western Conference GM said, "Too many loose ends. Not an easy task to secure safety for 1,000-plus people in one complex." Until those loose ends are tied up, the MLSPA is "unlikely to agree to a plan that currently has split the union membership, with some favoring a quick return to play while others question the danger or are opposed to being separated from family for an extended period" (L.A. TIMES, 5/15).
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath on Thursday said, "The general consensus is we need to get back to some normalcy. If that means going to Orlando and playing football for a month, that might be it. ... It's not ideal. We're aware of that. There's no perfect solution for this, but we're trying to come up with a situation that's good for everybody." Minnesota United MF and MLSPA Exec Board member Ethan Finlay said, "Players want to play." Finlay on the players' priorities said, "First and foremost, the health and safety of themselves and their families and making sure the competition is worthwhile. We're going to be putting our bodies on the line and it's important it makes sense." He added, "Most guys -- if the scenario is right and they feel its safe and its worthwhile and its competitive -- are going to want to get back on the field" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/15).
TOUGH CALL: In St. Paul, Andy Greder notes MLS and the players union have been discussing salary cuts for players, and Finlay said that the union is "trying not to combine a restart with compensation issues." Finlay said, "We are viewing them separately, but it does make it difficult on players to try to make a decision on the economics of the game when we really don't know exactly what is going to happen from a playing standpoint. We are trying to cover all bases, but players want to play and we have every intention in participating if everything works out" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/15).