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As professional sports leagues across the world try to game plan a return to play, Major League Soccer appears to be ahead of its peers. According to reports, MLS will be officially returning to play July 8, in a World Cup-style tournament at an empty Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
There’s a lot to process in that last sentence, I know. But come on, a World Cup at Disney World? Let’s go.
If there’s anything that will be able to throw less-than-fair-weather Whitecaps fans (of which there are more than a few in this city) into fervent football fan, it could be this. After all, Vancouver does love the World Cup, and while this will still be the MLS, it might be a tad more accessible than the league’s usual schedule.
The tournament will split each of the league’s 26 teams into groups, which will be drawn on Thursday. In all, 54 games will be played in just over a month, as the tournament concludes on August 11.
For sports starved fans, it’s got to be Beethoven to the most cobwebbed of ears.
And while we don’t yet know which teams the Whitecaps will be up against in their group, there is some hope that the team could fare decently. The last time we saw the Whitecaps in action they were downing the L.A. Galaxy by a 1-0 score. Certainly, the squad looks to be improved from last year’s bottom of the table finish.
Of course, this is also a major test for MLS, which will plans to test players for COVID-19 before leaving for Orlando and upon arrival, with clubs travelling by charter.
Players, staff and officials will reportedly be tested every other day during their first two weeks in Florida and regularly after that, including the day before each match.
But hey, if it doesn’t work out, you can always watch former Whitecap Alphonso Davies tear it up with Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga.