Major League Soccer scheduled their moratorium on team training to expire on Friday March 27. If teams do indeed start training this weekend, the Seattle Sounders won’t be among them, unless they leave the state.
Monday evening, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee officially implemented a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which restricts activity, business and other gatherings in the state to those deemed “essential business.” For businesses in the state, the order is set to take effect Wednesday, March 25, meaning the earliest the order would be lifted is April 8.
Essential businesses, as defined by the order, include “all grocery stores, pharmacies, childcare facilities, gas stations, food supply chains and other things that offer people basic, crucial needs.” Those businesses will remain open.
Sports organizations such as the Sounders and MLS are of course not exempted, though they could in theory apply for an exception. There is no indication that will happen, and a source with the team said that the Sounders are in full agreement with the order. “Comprehensive measures are warranted,” the source said.
The two-week delay, combined with similar orders being implemented in California, New York and Ohio, means that absent extraordinary measures, MLS will likely not resume team training until after April 8. Assuming those orders are lifted on or around that date, that would give teams approximately one month to prepare to restart the season by May 10, which is when the suspension of the season by MLS expires. That deadline, of course, could be extended depending on how effective the measures being taken by local and federal officials are in dealing with the virus.