The Latest: Atlanta United to allow 50% capacity at opener

MLS Soccer

The Latest on the effects of the novel coronavirus on sports around the world:

Atlanta United will allow 50% capacity for its home opener of the Major League Soccer season.

The team plans to open the two lowest levels of 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the April 24 match against Chicago Fire.

Officials say they will determine stadium on a match-by-match basis.

Atlanta United has set numerous attendance records since joining MLS in 2017. The team generally closes off the upper deck for home games, limiting capacity to around 42,500, but does open the entire stadium for selected games.

”We’re excited to be able to kick off our 2021 season at 50% capacity,” said Catie Griggs, Atlanta United’s chief business officer. ”This allows for seating pods to remain distanced from one another, while providing more of our season ticket members the opportunity to safely attend our first match.”

The NHL has moved Winnipeg’s home game against Ottawa that was originally scheduled for May 7 to Monday.

The league announced the schedule change Friday and said it was a result of recently postponed games affecting the Jets and Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks have had their games postponed through Tuesday after two players and a member of the coaching staff entered the league’s COVID protocol.

The postponed contests include games originally scheduled for Sunday and Tuesday in Winnipeg.

The Washington Nationals say their season-opening three-game series against the New York Mets has been postponed because of coronavirus concerns.

That includes games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Nationals Park. Thursday night’s game already had been put off.

At least three Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

General manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday a fourth player has been deemed a ”likely positive.”

The team’s statement announcing the series has been scrapped said the decision was ”due to continued follow-up testing and contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization.”

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