Toronto FC has confirmed on Friday that they will start their 2021 MLS season in Florida. TFC has also confirmed that they will play their training camp in Orlando, Florida at Omni Resort at ChampionsGate.
The 2021 MLS season will start in Florida for Toronto FC
We're heading south ☀️⚽️
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 5, 2021
TFC will start their 2021 MLS season in Florida. Also, according to Toronto FC Communications of Toronto FC, they could play in both Orlando and Tampa depending on the MLS schedule. This is what TFC president Bill Manning (pictured above) said about the matter:
“We are unable to make BMO Field in Toronto our home for the start of the MLS Season,” said TFC general manager Ali Curtis. “But we will continue to work with local and federal officials to monitor the situation back home and return as soon as possible.”
Overview of having training facilities at Omni Resort at ChampionsGate
This decision should not surprise anyone and this is especially true in a COVID-19 pandemic. The difficulties for Canadian-based teams to play in Canada in a US-based league has been well documented For example, last year, TFC had to play their US-based home games in Hartford. It is also not feasible for the Canadian MLS-based teams to play a full season against each other in Canada.
However, Toronto could play against CF Montreal and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC three times each. This was the case in MLS Phase One last year. This is why they are playing their season in Florida and having their training facilities at Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) March 5, 2021
Still, there is hope that TFC could play home games in Toronto. On Friday, Health Canada approved their fourth vaccine, which was Johnson & Johnson according to Ryan Patrick Jones of CBC. Justin Trudeau also says that everyone should be vaccinated by September according to Ryan Tumilty of the National Post. This is likely going to be the latter part of the 2020 MLS season when TFC can try to get some home games.
However, for now, TFC will have to focus on their game against Forge FC (from Hamilton) in the Canadian Championship Final. A win against Hamilton would mean Toronto would win their eighth Voyageurs Cup. It would also mean another appearance in the Concacaf Champions League. Toronto’s best performance in the Concacaf Champions League was in 2018. This was where they made their first and so far, only finals appearance.