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MLS, USL Championship suspending seasons for 30 days; USWNT April friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium canceled

SHARE MLS, USL Championship suspending seasons for 30 days; USWNT April friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium canceled
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Real Salt Lake defender Marcelo Silva (30) just misses a goal in Sandy on Saturday, March 7, 2020. RSL tied with New York 1-1.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Major League Soccer announced this morning that effectively immediately it is suspending the season for 30 days “as it continues to assess the impact of COVID-19.”

Real Salt Lake was scheduled to depart on Thursday to Columbus for this Saturday’s game at the Columbus Crew.

The decision comes the morning after the NBA suspended its season indefinitelyafter Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Over the next month, Real Salt Lake was only scheduled to play one game at home — next Saturday against the New England Revolution — and three games on the road.

Here is a statement from MLS commissioner Don Garber.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees. We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

MLS is only two games into its 34-game season.

Elsewhere in the soccer world, Yahoo’s Doug McIntyre first reported Thursday that the United States Women’s National Team friendly against Australia that was to be played at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 10 has also been canceled. McIntyre reported that another USWNT friendly and a pair of United States Men’s National Team friendlies have also been canceled.

An announcement confirming those decisions, as well as the decisions to cancel a number of national team camps through the end of April, was made a short time later.

The National Women’s Soccer League, where all of the USWNT players compete, opened training camps on Monday in preparation for their season to begin in mid-April. On Tuesday, the league released a statement indicating it would proceed as normal for the time being, but would alter course if necessary.

Then on Thursday afternoon, the league announced the preseason will be canceled.

“We are reviewing all contingency plans related to our regular season schedule and are monitoring developing events and their potential impact,” the league said in a statement.

Utah Royals FC was scheduled to play preseason games against USC in California on March 29 and the University of Utah at America First Field in Sandy on April 1 before their regular season is scheduled to begin April 18 on the road against Portland Thorns FC.

The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter reported Thursday that club owners in the USL Championship, the league the Real Monarchs play in, would be voting to determine the league’s action moving forward. The league later announced that, like the MLS, it will be suspended for 30 days.