Toronto, Montreal back home in MLS return to Canada

MLS Soccer

TORONTO (AP)Toronto FC and Montreal have been given the green light to play at home Saturday, with a limited number of fans in the stands.

Major League Soccer said Wednesday that Toronto will host Orlando City on Saturday and the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday at BMO Field and that Montreal will play FC Cincinnati on Saturday at Saputo Stadium.

The third Canadian team, the Vancouver Whitecaps, will play ”home” matches July 17 and July 20 in Sandy, Utah, as conversations continue with the Canadian government.

The league said Toronto and Montreal will follow local and regional guidelines regarding attendance.

A Toronto FC spokesman said 7,000 fans will be allowed Saturday and 15,000 next week, with Saturday’s crowd made up of front-line health-care workers, first responders and season seat members. Montreal will allow 5,000 fans.

Montreal (5-3-4) and Toronto (2-8-2) returned home last week after the federal government loosened pandemic-related border restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. The Whitecaps (2-7-3) remain in their temporary U.S. home.

Clubs and match officials travelling to Canada will be subject to public health protocols required of all individuals entering the country, the league said. Only fully vaccinated players and staff will be excluded from Canadian quarantine requirements. COVID-19 testing will take place prior to departure and upon arrival in Canada.

Montreal last played at Saputo Stadium on Sept. 9, when it beat Toronto before 250 fans. Vancouver’s last outing at BC Place Stadium was a 2-1 win over Montreal on Sept. 16 with no fans in the stands.

Toronto has not played at BMO Field since Sept. 1 when no fans were allowed. It has played the 31 games since on the road, finishing out last season in East Hartford, Connecticut, and starting this year in Orlando, Florida.

The last time fans were allowed at BMO Field for a TFC game was March 7, 2020, the second game of the regular season. The Whitecaps haven’t played at home in front of fans since Feb. 29, 2020.

Montreal shifted its base of operation to Harrison, New York, last year and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this year. The Whitecaps set up shop in Portland last year and Utah this year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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