No sooner had the new MLS (Major League Soccer) season kicked-off than the worsening effects of the coronavirus pandemic saw it suspended indefinitely.
The league was suspended after just two rounds of games, with the Canadian trio of Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps having all made solid starts to the new campaign.
MLS has been shut down since March 12, with the current aim being to resume the season on May 10. In truth that seems somewhat optimistic as it stands, given that any club training has also been suspended until April 24 – a target that seems highly unlikely to be met and which is therefore likely to be extended.
If a full season is to be played upon resumption, it could require teams to play twice per week, so there is a distinct possibility of a compromise being agreed to in order to limit the workload on the players.
The shutdown comes at a time when the MLS is booming, with an influx of quality players from Latin America and Europe in recent years, in addition to a number of promising homegrown youngsters coming through the ranks at various clubs. MLS is now getting ever closer to overhauling the Liga MX south of the border as the regional powerhouse.
MLS Betting Odds
The current uncertainty means that none of the leading online sportsbooks are offering odds on any MLS markets at present, as it’s unclear as to when the league will return to action and, if and when it does so, whether the full league schedule will remain in place.
Once a resumption date is confirmed, it’s safe to presume that Los Angeles FC will again be installed as the bookies favourites to win the MLS Cup, with Atlanta United probably deemed to be their most likely challengers.
Along with New York City FC and Seattle Sounders (the defending champions), Toronto FC are also seen as leading contenders to be crowned MLS 2020 champions. For a reputable online bookmaker in Canada, bettors should look to the likes of Sports Interaction and bet365 among others for the very best MLS odds. It’s also worth noting that once the season restarts, many sportsbooks will be promoting their new player deposit offers to draw in new customers.
Recent history suggests that Toronto FC certainly have the pedigree to be genuine challengers again, having won the MLS Cup in 2017 and finished runners-up in 2016 and 2019.
Coach Greg Vanney has a talented roster at his disposal and in the likes of Jozy Altidore, Alejandro Pozuelo, Pablo Piatti, Laurent Ciman and Michael Bradley, the Reds have an array of experienced players who have featured in major leagues abroad.
The key to the Reds’ MLS Cup hopes could be over what period of time the season is to be played, with Altidore in particular having a (not altogether unjustified) reputation as being somewhat injury prone. Too many games over a short space of time might prove to be detrimental to Toronto’s ambitions.