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Major League Soccer Finally Returns To Canada After 10 Months

Major League Soccer Finally Returns To Canada After 10 Months

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The United States’ top-flight football league, the Major League Soccer (MLS), which is also played by Canadian teams finally returns to Canada, as CF Montreal, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Toronto FC will play in their respective home stadiums this weekend.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada-based teams have been training and playing their home matches in the United States to avoid any complications in the regular season.

The teams were forced to share training ground with other MLS teams, albeit not training at the same time. CF Montreal used Inter Miami’s grounds in Fort Lauderdale, the Vancouver Whitecaps partnered with the Real Salt Lake in Utah and Toronto FC was in collaboration with Orlando City.

Montreal Stade Saputo

CF Montreal’s Stade Saputo in a past MLS match.
PHOTO: Courtesy

The three Canadian MLS sides faced a lot of challenges relocating their training sessions with Montreal reporting that they encountered an alligator during one of their early training sessions in South Florida.

The three teams have not played at home since September 2020, when the MLS resumed after a long break attributed to the pandemic.

Montreal last featured at their Maputo Stadium on September 9, 2020, when they defeated Toronto FC in front of only 250 spectators.

Vancouver on their side last played in their BP Place Stadium on September 16, 2020, when they triumphed over Montreal with no fans in the stands. Toronto last appeared at BMO field on September 1, 2020.

Vancouver BP Place

Vancouver Whitecaps’ home stadium, the BP Place.
PHOTO: Courtesy

The announcement was received with jubilations by both the players and the fans.

In a statement confirming the announcement, Toronto FC President Bill Manning, said, “The importance of this return home for our team can’t be overstated, it has been a long, hard time on the road due to pandemic protocols and we have greatly missed the energy and support of our fans at BMO Field. Our return to Canada gave the team an incredible boost this week and we look forward to an emotional night at BMO Field with our fans on Saturday.”

Montreal President and CEO Kevin Gilmore said, “After all this time away, we are truly happy to finally be able to play at home, the past few months have been very difficult for our players and staff, who had to go into exile, but they have shown tremendous resilience. Our supporters have also been remarkably patient throughout this period, and we can’t wait to see them at Stade Saputo on Saturday.  We hope this is one more step in the right direction towards a full return.”

The three teams have more reason to celebrate as the Canadian government has agreed to allow fans back into the stadium to support their favorite teams in the MLS. Fans were banned from the stadium in March 2020 before being allowed 250 of them in September then banned gain due to the Pandemic.

 

 

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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