SEATTLE – Sounders FC matches will be played at CenturyLink Field again.
On Saturday, Major League Soccer released a truncated schedule to resume the 2020 season. The lineup gives the Sounders 18 more league matches to play after MLS shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sounders will begin the regular-season return on the road with matches Aug. 23 against the Portland Timbers and Aug. 26 at Los Angeles Galaxy. The first match at CenturyLink since March will be Aug. 30 against Los Angeles FC at 7 p.m.
The culmination of the MLS schedule will be with Decision Day on Nov. 8. The postseason will be expanded to include 18 clubs, with the MLS Cup played Dec. 12.
As of now, games in Washington will still be without fans. The Sounders previously gave season-ticket holders the option for a refund or rollover to an expected 2021 season due to the change.
“It’s super exciting,” Sounders forward Jordan Morris said via phone interview. “Portland is a big rival, so that’s a fun one to start with, but I’m just excited to have games in home markets again.”
The league returned to competitive matches via the MLS is Back tournament, concluding in Florida on Aug. 11 with a championship faceoff between Portland and Orlando City SC.
Seattle was ousted 4-1 by LAFC last month in the round of 16.
The U.S. saw a recent spike in positive cases for COVID-19, and multiple states are considering scaling back lifts to business and activity bans in order to contain the spread of the virus.
King County is currently in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” for Washington. Outdoor activities for small groups are permissible, thus the Sounders returning to training on Monday at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.
The team is allowed to play scrimmages against each other and follows the same strict safety protocols implemented by MLS with the advisement of health officials, including wearing masks and getting tested frequently.
For matches, both clubs will be tested prior to game-day.
“There’s some hope we can (play) with some fans this year, but that’s not up to us,” said Garth Lagerwey, the club’s president of soccer and general manager.
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