Report: MLS Shortens Time Frame for Return-to-Play Tournament

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Major League Soccer is planning to trim its schedule for the league's return-to-play tournament, according to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle

MLS will reportedly have players stay in their home markets until June 21 before heading to the Walt Disney World's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, per ESPN. The league will then hold a group stage comprised of five matches, followed by a knockout stage. The group stage, under the reported plan, will count toward the standings for whenever the regular season is able to continue.

MLS suspended its season on March 12 due to the COVID-19 crisis with clubs having played two matches apiece. No official date has been set to resume the 2020 season. 

MLS's previous plan included a four-week practice period once players reached Orlando in early June. The practice period and tournament would have lasted over 10 weeks, which "resulted in considerable pushback from the MLSPA, especially as it relates to those players with spouses and children to look after," per ESPN. 

MLS is hoping to join the NWSL in finalizing a return plan. The women's soccer league announced on Wednesday its plan to return on June 27. The league will return to play with the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, which will take place from June 27 to July 26 in Utah. All nine NWSL teams will participate, and it's unclear if the tournament is a substitute for the 2020 regular season or just a precursor for an altered one.