March 12 – The first professional football casualty of the Coronavirus has been recorded in the US both MLS and USL clubs reacting swiftly to local authority advisories and seasons barely a game old.
The Seattle Sounders announced Wednesday that their home game against FC Dallas on March 2 has been postponed following Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people in three Seattle-area counties.
That order also hit second tier USL team Tacoma Defiance who last night played their league match with San Diego Loyal SC behind closed doors but have postponed their next home match on Sunday, March 22 versus OKC Energy FC.
San Jose Earthquakes’ home game against Sporting Kansas City, scheduled for March 21, has also been postponed following Santa Clara County’s legal order banning all gatherings of 1,000 people or more.
San Jose Earthquakes will be in action this weekend with Philadelphia Union saying their home opener will go ahead but added that the situation will continue to be closely monitored and expanded sanitation measures will be put in place leading up to the game and on game day.
While the MLS is going ahead with East coast games there are signs that the Covid-19 virus will soon have an impact. Hartford Athletic, based in Connecticut and who play in the second tier USL Championship, announced it has postponed two matches following guidance from local and state health officials. The March 21 match versus the Charleston Battery and April 4 contest versus Memphis 901 FC will be rearranged.
The United Soccer League said it “has been actively working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Homeland Security, the United States Soccer Federation and other professional sports leagues around the country for weeks to provide the most relevant, up-to-date information on COVID-19 to all of our clubs and stakeholders.
“USL has also been encouraging all of our clubs to stay in regular contact with their local and state health departments as well as other local authorities. As the situation evolves, USL will continue to monitor the most recent developments and pass along any and all available information, resources and guidance to clubs, supporters and media as timely as possible.”
The impact and fear of the coronavirus is causing schools and colleges to shut down across the US with students reverting to on-line lectures and local authorities prohibiting large mass gathering in areas hardest hit by coronavirus outbreaks in Northern California and Washington state. At grassroots level a number of youth tournaments have been cancelled, including a big event in Las Vegas this weekend that had drawn teams from Southern California.
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