The MLS is back, and so will be the Vancouver Whitecaps, eventually.
Major League Soccer kicked off its World Cup-style tournament yesterday, played without fans in attendance at Disney World in Orlando.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 9, 2020
Two teams have already pulled out of the tournament, FC Dallas and Nashville SC, due to multiple players on each team contracting coronavirus after arriving in Orlando.
That actually balances out each group nicely, with the tournament now divided into six groups of four teams each. But MLS has been forced to rejig its schedule, placing Chicago Fire FC into Group B, along with Vancouver, San Jose, and Seattle.
The Whitecaps were supposed to play Dallas today, but they now have to wait until Wednesday, July 15 for their tournament debut match against San Jose. Vancouver’s second match is on July 19 against Seattle, and now a third match has been added, July 23 against Chicago.
Just one problem for viewers on the west coast: The match will begin at 6 am PT.
That’s hardly ideal, but it’s an unfortunate reality for the Whitecaps, who were supposed to have every match begin at 7:30 pm PT.
MLS is playing three games per day during the group stage, with matches beginning at 9 am, 8 pm, and 10:30 pm local time due to the heat in Orlando at this time of year. With two matches already scheduled on July 23, each featuring west coast teams, the Whitecaps and Fire were forced into the early morning time slot.
Over 70 pubs are holding viewing parties during the first two Whitecaps matches. Maybe some will open early for the third.
Setting the tone. 🗣️
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) July 8, 2020
The Whitecaps, of course, are hoping their trip to Disney World lasts longer than a couple weeks. The Round of 16 begins on July 25, with a tournament champion crowned on August 11.