COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The COVID-19 outbreak within the Colorado Rapids organization and its consequences have hit an inflection point. Yesterday, MLS in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) have postponed the next three Rapids games. They have not played since Sept. 23. They will not play again until at least Oct. 24 at Sporting KC.
CDPHE, MLS Postpone Three More Colorado Rapids Matches
Firstly, it should be said that this is the right decision. CDPHE has every right to make guidelines on what businesses (including sports teams) can and cannot do during this pandemic. The health and safety of the players, staff, and employees is the post important thing. And that has come at the expense of a month of soccer games and potentially the season.
What a mess this has become. As I just wrote about, MLS and the Colorado Rapids were already in a scheduling pickle when it came to the two postponed and yet to be rescheduled. MLS and Colorado now have five of those to deal with.
Should the club play their final five games, they’ll have played 17 of 23 regular season games. At best, they’ll have two weeks between Decision Day and the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. That’s three match days, four if they, the league, and all their opponents agree that Draconianism is ok in MLS in 2020.
Baring MLS extending the regular season and pushing back MLS Cup, something that’s been reported otherwise, it’s impossible to see how the Rapids play all 23 regular season games. As I wrote this week, there are alternatives to making Colorado forfeit these games.
What was originally four positive tests on Sept. 25 has gone full Butterfly Effect. A bunch of other teams have been affected at no fault of their own. Robin Fraser’s first full season is on the brink of being derailed.
Serious questions have to be asked, by health officials, the league, and supporters, what happened here and whether protocol was insufficient or violated.
It’s unclear how the league resolved this without someone being upset or feeling wronged. Like many decisions MLS has had to make due to the pandemic, there are no good solutions. Only answers that are varying degrees of bad and unfair.