The Colorado Rapids have had three additional games postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within the organization, MLS announced on Monday.
“MLS today announced that while there have been no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the Colorado Rapids staff and players, based on the total number of cases, Major League Soccer, in consultation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has postponed Colorado Rapids matches for the next 10 days,” the league said in a statement.
The games affected are the Oct. 14 match at Seattle, the Oct. 18 game at home against Real Salt Lake, and the Oct. 21 home match against Sporting Kansas City. This is on top of the four postponements the Rapids have already sustained, two of which have been rescheduled.
“When we announced that we’re returning to play in our markets, we said we would prioritize the health and safety of the players and staff,” MLS deputy commissioner and president Mark Abbott told ESPN.
“And if anytime we thought that we shouldn’t move forward with a match, we would postpone it. We recognized that that could happen, and the health and safety protocols that we have were designed to deal with them.”
“Those individuals who have continued to test negative will have the ability to attend team training but will otherwise remain quarantined,” the league’s statement read.
Abbott said that there is every expectation that the season will be completed.
“There is nothing that we’re seeing that would cause us to think that we won’t finish the season,” he said.
The decision comes amid a relative spate of cancellations. In addition to the Rapids’ postponements, the FC Dallas-Minnesota United and Columbus Crew-Orlando City matches were postponed last weekend after two players from Minnesota, two staff from Columbus and one player from Orlando tested positive.
The additional postponements for the Rapids have added stress to an already packed schedule. A source with knowledge of the situation said that the international window slated to take place starting on Nov. 8 and lasting through Nov. 20 could be used to make up the games prior to the start of the playoffs. The league is still evaluating how best to reschedule the affected games involving the Rapids.
During a media call back on Aug. 8, MLS commissioner Don Garber said that if necessary, the league would go to a points per game calculation to determine where teams would be placed in the standings. There is precedent for such a move, in that the league took the same approach when matches were canceled during the 2001 season due to 9/11.
“It’s pretty clear to all of us now that we’re going to have a season, that’s going to have a lot of competitive balance issues,” he said. “If we have to postpone a match or cancel a match and we’re not able to reschedule it, we’re going to apply the points per match as opposed to total points in determining how to qualify for the playoffs.”
When asked if MLS was considering a bubble for the MLS Cup playoffs, Abbott said, “Not really,” before adding, “I think that there are advantages and disadvantages to the bubble. I think that it becomes effective once you get established, but it’s also disruptive in people’s lives.”