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MLS delays season opener until April 17

Sounders can potentially open training camp on March 1.

SOCCER: MAR 01 MLS - Seattle Sounders FC v Chicago Fire Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLS is back, but just a little bit later than expected.

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced that the start of the 2021 season has been pushed back two weeks until April 17 during a Wednesday conference call with reporters.

Garber indicated that the reason for pushing back the start date was due in part to the negotiations over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. MLS invoked a force majeure clause in December, which initiated a 30-day negotiation period that was extended twice to allow for completion of a new deal. During that time, the league threatened to terminate the CBA and lock out the players, which put the season at risk.

The players and owners were able to come to an agreement last weekend, and the deal was ratified on Monday.

The start date for training camp, originally set for Feb. 22, will also be delayed, and is set to be announce in the coming weeks. In previous seasons, training camps were permitted to open six weeks before the start of the season. (UPDATE: Steven Goff reported on Friday that teams not competing in Concacaf Champions League will be allowed to open training camp as early as March 1.)

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