Major League Soccer has suspended play for the second time in its 25-year history, the league announced Thursday.
In a statement, the league said matches will be halted for “30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.
“At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.”
The Revolution (0-1-1) will have at least four games postponed: home against the Portland Timbers Sunday, the Colorado Rapids April 4, and the Seattle Sounders April 8, as well as a visit to Real Salt Lake March 21.
In making the announcement, MLS commissioner Don Garber said, “Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season ― based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees.
"We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
The Revolution said in a statement, "The New England Revolution support Major League Soccer’s decision to suspend match play for 30 days. The safety and well-being of Revolution fans, players, coaches, and employees is the club’s top priority.
“The goal is to reschedule affected games for a future date to be determined later. All tickets purchased for the club’s home games during this period will remain valid for the rescheduled dates."
On Tuesday, Revolution coach Bruce Arena said the team had not discussed the possibility of limiting contact between players and fans. Asked about the possibility of conducting matches in empty stadiums, he replied, “We played in one on Saturday, so we’re used to it.”
The Revolution tied the Chicago Fire, 1-1, before a crowd of 15,289 at Gillette Stadium this past Saturday.
Talking about the shutdown of Italy’s Serie A, Arena said, “Obviously, in Italy, they’ve had great numbers affected by the coronavirus and they feel that’s very important in their country to prevent large gatherings.
"I’m hopeful that doesn’t occur in the United States, but you never know. It’s a virus we do not have control over at this point, so we have to lean on whatever the medical authorities want us to do.”
MLS canceled its season after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Some teams had two games remaining, and the Revolution had a home contest against the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.
Competition resumed in the playoffs, which extended from Sept. 20 through Oct. 21. The Revolution failed to qualify for the playoffs, but returned to action in the US Open Cup final Oct. 27, 2001.