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Covid-19 ‘concerns’ force Phoenix Rising to cancel match vs. Sounders

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Sounders will instead play an intrasquad match on Sunday.

Jane Gershovich

Already playing fewer opponents than any previous preseason, the Seattle Sounders are down one more after USL Championship outfit Phoenix Rising canceled their trip north over “Covid-19 concerns.” The Sounders will instead play an intrasquad match on Sunday at Lumen Field before closing out their preseason schedule with a match against San Diego Loyal on April 11. The Sounders will begin the MLS regular season on April 16 with a home match against Minnesota United.

Phoenix had been a relatively late addition to the Sounders’ preseason schedule. Originally, the Sounders planned to go Southern California for a week, where they were going to play four matches — a pair of split-squad affairs — ahead of their MLS regular-season opener.

But a combination of concerns over travel during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and the regular-season opener unexpectedly being scheduled for a Friday — instead of over the weekend — caused them to cancel that trip and schedule matches against Phoenix and San Diego at home.

Barring an unforeseen change, the Sounders could be left playing just two preseason matches against outside opponents. Up until now, the only proper preseason match they’ve played was against the Portland Timbers last week.