The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will re-start their season on July 13, returning with the rest of the league in the #MLSisBack Tournament in Orlando, Florida. LAFC and MLS have been on hiatus since early March when the league shut its season down due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
With the players association and league agreeing to a re-start and using a tournament to get everyone fresh there are a lot of questions for LAFC as a team.
When do we start
The tournament starts on July 8, LAFC was placed in a group with rivals LA Galaxy, the Portland Timbers, and Houston Dynamo. The group play doesn’t begin until July 13 with LAFC taking on the Galaxy in their first game.
Teams that finish in the top two spots in every group move on to the 16-team knockout phase. Third place teams can move on based on certain tie-breaking criteria.
The winner of the tournament will qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League tournament.
MLS did its due diligence trying to insure the tournament takes place, LAFC staff, coaches, and players will have to adhere to specific rules regarding medical precautions.
LAFC personnel will have to be tested for the COVID-19 before and throughout the tournament, wear a face covering, and use social distance rules to prevent transmission.
Anyone deemed high-risk will have to be medically cleared to participate in the tournament, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate and adhere to a strict isolation protocol.
Will Carlos Vela Go?
Jeff Carlisle of ESPN reported on Wednesday that it is likely team captain and reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela would not go to Orlando to participate in the program. Carlisle quoted sources stating that Vela is leaning towards that decision but, “is not 100 percent certain.”
Vela’s wife is pregnant and families are not allowed in the Orlando complex hosting the tournament. Losing Vela for the tournament would put the team at a huge disadvantage, Vela is the engine that gets the offense going and he is a team leader on and off the pitch.
— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) July 2, 2020
There are no guarantee’s the tournament could start or be completed. As more and more positive COVID-19 tests among MLS players rise, speculation that the tournament should be delayed or not start at all will be brought to light. With the numbers in Florida spiking even with isolation measures in place there is still uncertainty.
MLS has stated that a re-worked regular season and playoffs will occur after the tournament. That leaves plenty of questions, how will the schedule work out, will supporters be included in plans, and how will teams adhere to medical precautions once they return home.
There are a lot of questions going into the tournament and what will happen afterward, supporters will just have to wait to see if they get their answers.