REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake Could Return To Play With Tournament In Orlando

May 13, 2020, 3:51 PM
Orlando City midfielder João Moutinho (4) and Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (10) go up for a ...
Orlando City midfielder João Moutinho (4) and Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (10) go up for a header during the soccer match between Real Salt Lake and Orlando City SC. on February 29, 2020, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando FL.(Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake, along with the 25 other MLS clubs, could be headed to Orlando, Florida to take part in an MLS tournament prior to the regular season starting, ESPN reports.

The tournament would be held at ESPN’s Wide World Of Sports complex. Prior to the tournament, clubs would be granted three to four weeks of training to ensure that the players can regain full fitness and hopefully limit the number of injuries.

However, for the tournament to occur, the proposal must be agreed upon with the MLS Players Association, which is currently in negotiation with MLS over player salary cuts. The league is proposing a 20 percent salary cut to all players due to the coronavirus pandemic that has severely impacted the economy.

If the tournament were to occur, it is rumored that teams would be split into groups with each team roughly playing five group matches. The group matches would be followed by knockout rounds for teams that qualified and for the teams that did not qualify they would play in consolation games to ensure every team plays the same amount of games.

It is not known if the tournament matches would count towards the regular season standings and if the matches would have any CONCACAF Champions League implications.

Players and staff would be confined to a hotel room, it is not known if family members would be able to join them. Testing for COVID-19 poses a significant issue. If a player of staff member contracts the virus, what protocol does the league take to secure the safety and health of the other personnel?

ESPN reports that those concerns have not been brought up with the MLS Stakeholders.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.

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